What’s Happening Now?
Since the conclusion of the third round of consultation in December 2020, the NTA have reviewed and considered all submissions and are currently finalising the preliminary design of each of the Core Bus Corridor schemes. In addition, Environmental Impact Assessment Reports, inclusive of traffic impact analyses, are being prepared for each scheme. Once finished, these reports will be the basis for our applications to An Bord Pleanála, together with the Compulsory Purchase Order Schedules and Maps, with specific details of lands which are proposed to be acquired.
During May and June a pre-application consultation process was undertaken with An Bord Pleanála in accordance with the relevant legislation. This was an advance consultation procedure which precedes the submission of the intended applications for the Schemes.
For the purposes of progressing the BusConnects Dublin Core Bus Corridor Infrastructure Works through the statutory planning process, the 16 Core Bus Corridors that have been the subject of non-statutory public consultation, are now being grouped as 12 individual schemes based on geographical links.
Preliminary Business Case
A Preliminary Business Case for the overall BusConnects Dublin programme has been submitted to the Department of Transport for its review and for Government decision in accordance with the Public Spending Code governing capital projects.
Under the Public Spending Code, Government approval of the Preliminary Business Case is required prior to the submission of the applications for approval pursuant to section 51 of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended) to An Bord Pleanála. Accordingly, the timing of the submission of the applications for approval in respect of the individual Core Bus Corridor schemes is linked to the Government’s approval of the business case document.
It is intended that the Preliminary Business Case will be published subsequent to the Government having completed its consideration and issued its determination relating to the document.
Applications to An Bord Pleanála for Approval
Assuming a positive determination of the Preliminary Business Case, it is intended to submit applications for approval to An Bord Pleanála as quickly as is feasible thereafter, most likely during October/November of this year. This triggers a formal statutory public consultation process in respect of each of the stand-alone Core Bus Corridor schemes, with submissions to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála for their consideration.
During this process, the finalised Environmental Impact Assessment Reports, inclusive of traffic impact analyses, will be published and available for inspection (including online) and purchase. The public will then have the formal opportunity to have their views heard and considered by An Bord Pleanála as part of the statutory consultation process to inform An Bord Pleanála’s assessment of each of the stand-alone Core Bus Corridor schemes.
Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Reports
The particular characteristics of the Kimmage to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme and the Lucan to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme means that those two schemes don’t automatically trigger the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment under the Roads Act 1993 (as amended) or under the Roads Regulations 1994 (as amended). However, in line with the relevant legislative provisions, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Report has been prepared in respect of each of these two schemes.
The determinations arising from those EIA Screening Reports, have concluded that each of these two schemes are likely to have significant environmental impacts and that, accordingly, an Environmental Impact Assessment Report is required to be prepared for each of the Kimmage to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme and the Lucan to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme and each are to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for approval under section 51 of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended).
The EIA Screening Determination and the EIA Screening Report for the Kimmage to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme are available on the BusConnects website at https://busconnects.ie/12-core-bus-corridor-statutory-applications/kimmage-to-city-centre-core-bus-corridor-scheme/ and copies are available for inspection by members of the public.
In addition, the EIA Screening Determination and the EIA Screening Report for the Lucan to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme are available on the BusConnects website at https://busconnects.ie/12-core-bus-corridor-statutory-applications/lucan-to-city-centre-core-bus-corridor-scheme/ and copies are available for inspection by members of the public.
For the avoidance of doubt, Environmental Impact Assessment Reports are automatically required to be prepared in respect of the remaining Core Bus Corridor schemes, which will also be submitted to An Bord Pleanála.
It is the NTA’s intention to issue another update prior to submitting planning applications to An Bord Pleanala, which, as advised above, we expect to occur during October / November, assuming Government approval of the Preliminary Business Case for the BusConnects Programme.