Irish farmers object to Government’s plans for more greenways

Posted on: January 29th, 2019

Farmers have said cyclists should be diverted onto roads with low traffic so the extra greenways would not be needed.


Farmers have voiced their concern over plans to construct a network of greenways across the Republic, saying some existing roads could be used for cycling instead.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) says the Government’s recently published greenway strategy runs contrary to EU directives of environmental sustainability.

The association also says the greenway strategy, which was backed by a €53 million funding call, is at odds with EU resource efficiency directives.

It says minor roads with very low traffic volume could be used by cyclists in many parts of the country.

And this would help minimise the need for so many new greenway projects.

“EU directives and national planning regulations require developers, including local authorities, to compare and contrast the environmental impacts of reasonable alternatives to proposed projects,” said Galway ICSA representative Adrian Kelly.

“Projects should also be shown to use resources in an efficient and sustainable way. The central issue is that the Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport (DTTAS) is trying to reinterpret greenway provision as being focused on the construction of new roads.

“This is a departure from best international practice and long standing national policy.

“We know that rural cycling networks may include dedicated greenways but can also use minor country lanes with low traffic.

“Across Europe cycling tourists and family groups use many low-traffic roads as part of national and international (Eurovelo) cycle networks.

“However, the effect of the Greenway Strategy is to instruct local authorities to build new roads as a direct alternative to adapting existing features that can accommodate cycling infrastructure.

“This will result in proposed projects having an unnecessarily higher impact on the environment.

“ICSA is again calling on Minister Shane Ross to commit to building cycle routes using the internationally accepted and recognised Eurovelo guidelines.

“And (calls on Shan Ross) to immediately cease the use of CPOs to forcefully acquire working farmland and private property for such routes.

“Utilising Eurovelo guidelines will ensure that devising cycling infrastructure in this country will be a resource efficient, low carbon project conforming to EU directives.”