DfI/2019-0232: EIR Request for information relating to the minutes of the October and December 2018 Whooper Swan Working Group meetings and decision making about the A6 dualling, near Toome

Date published: 10 January 2020

DfI/2019-0232: EIR Request for information relating to the minutes of the October and December 2018 Whooper Swan Working Group meetings and decision making about the A6 dualling, near Toome.

The specific request is as follows:

Details

Information relating to the minutes of the October and December 2018 Whooper Swan Working Group meetings and decision making about the A6 dualling, near Toome, including:

1. What has been redacted from the October and December Minutes, and why?

2. Which fields reported to the Regional Planning Directorate’s Environment Governance Team (EGT) as having been successfully amalgamated are being referred to in the minutes and what does the Department mean by “successfully”?

3. Which HRA, as reported to the Regional Planning Directorate’s (EGT) considered LSE of the Toome Bypass?

4. What mitigation measures contained in the Public Inquiry Inspector’s report of April 2008 were "dropped" by DfI? (dropped being the term used by counsel for the Department in the High Court to describe how commitments made to the Public Inquiry and RSPB were “dropped” one week later.);

5. What consultation informed the public, including the Public Inquiry Inspector and the RSPB, of that “dropped” mitigation?

6. Why does the HRA not make reference to LSE in view of:
i. The site’s Conservation Objectives of 01/04/2015;
ii. The Whooper Swan-Species Action Plan for the Lough Neagh Wetlands (2008-2013);
iii. The NI Government’s SPA Site Fidelity Study, commissioned by EHS in 2005;
iv. Key findings of the Department’s own Whooper Swan Reports for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016; and
v. Up to date results of the WWT-designed mitigation for the lnchinnan Road & Industrial Estate -Black Cart Water, rather than misleading and out of date information.

7. As the proposed lay by represents a possible change to the alignment with potential habitat loss and disturbance (pedestrians, noise, pollution, etc.) with LSEs attached to the risk of crows, foxes, rats, etc. being drawn to a 'sensitive environment' (Toome Bypass ES) important for ground-nesting birds including Lapwing and Curlew (RSPB), which HRA assesses these potential impacts?;

8. As recommended by the Public Inquiry Inspector in 2008, have any landowners as yet been invited to join the Whooper Swan Working Group?

9. What is the latest estimated cost for the scheme?

10. Please provide me with the High Level Review of the SIAA produced in March 2016 which I understand provides advice to RSPB and other conservation bodies on the potential value of studying the behaviour of the Creagh Meadows' discrete population of Whooper Swans in response to construction, as well as informing the mitigation for the scheme;

11. What is the cost of this study, who is paying for it, who will be paid to supervise it and who will own the intellectual property rights to it?

12. Please send me Whooper Swan Reports for 2016-2017 & 2017-2018;

13. On what merit was the successful Ph.D. student selected, was the selection process entirely fair, without any hint of possible conflicts of interest?

14. CNCC had raised concerns at the potential cost of a non-compliance legal challenge. How much was budgeted for such an eventuality and how much has been spent on:
a. Habitat Regulations compliance for the Red Route variant;
b. The JR legal challenge to the R-C scheme; and
c. Any other legal challenge related to the Red Route variant; and

15. To date, how much has been paid individually to ecological consultants engaged on the scheme, including:
i. AECOM, and all predecessors of AECOM for whom the scheme’s lead consultant was a named individual;
ii. Celia Spoucer Associates;
iii. Graham McElwaine Consultants; and
iv. Any other ecological/environmental consultants.
 

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