Following the Government’s approval of the BusConnects Dublin Preliminary Business Case, we would like to take this opportunity to provide a status update, particularly in relation to the Core Bus Corridors (For Department of Transport Press Release click here .)
As you are aware, there is a strong national policy framework in place to support sustainable transport, from the overarching objectives of Project Ireland 2040 through to specific policies on climate action for all parts of Ireland including the Greater Dublin Area. BusConnects is a key component within a number of these Government and regional policies which include the:
- National Development Plan 2021-2030;
- Climate Action Plan 2021;
- National Planning Framework 2040; and
- Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy 2016-2035.
BusConnects Dublin is a suite of transformative changes to the bus system, intended to make it more efficient, faster, reliable and easier to use. The BusConnects Dublin programme contains nine elements, one of which is the BusConnects Dublin – Core Bus Corridor Infrastructure Works (the CBC Infrastructure Works). The nine elements are:
- Core Bus Corridor Infrastructure Works;
- Dublin Area Bus Network Redesign;
- Transitioning to a new low emissions bus fleet;
- State of the art ticketing system;
- Cashless payment system;
- Simpler fare structure;
- New Park and Ride sites in key locations;
- New bus livery providing a common style across all operators; and
- New bus stops and shelters with better signage and information.
During the months from April to August 2021, 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 Core Bus Corridors 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 into 12 individual schemes, taking account of geographical proximity.
Decision on the Preliminary Business Case
A Preliminary Business Case for the overall BusConnects Dublin programme was submitted to the Department of Transport last year for review and consideration by Government 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 planning consent approval to An Bord Pleanála.
The BusConnects Programme has now been given Government approval to enter the planning system, which is a crucial milestone in expanding and transforming the bus system in the Greater Dublin Area. The Preliminary Business Case will be available on our website in the coming weeks.
Applications to An Bord Pleanála (ABP) for Approval
As a result of the Government’s approval this week of the Preliminary Business Case, the NTA intends to commence the first statutory application process in the coming weeks for the Clongriffin to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme. This will trigger a formal statutory public consultation process in respect of that scheme, with any submissions to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála for its consideration.
As part of the application process, a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment Report will be published and made available for inspection (including online) or purchase, in addition to a Compulsory Purchase Order and Natura Impact Statement. Furthermore, statutory notices will be published in a national and local newspaper. 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 the Core Bus Corridor scheme.
It is expected that the relevant notices will be published, and application information made available, in early April in respect of the Clongriffin to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme.
The NTA intends to progress the submission of the planning consent applications for all of the twelve Core Bus Corridors during 2022. It is our intention to submit the schemes on a phased basis with the first six schemes being submitted in the order shown below, starting with the application for the Clongriffin to City Centre CBC Scheme:
- Clongriffin to City Centre CBC Scheme (Early April);
- Belfield/Blackrock to City Centre CBC Scheme (End of April);
- Blanchardstown to City Centre CBC Scheme (End of May);
- Ringsend to City Centre CBC Scheme (Start of June);
- Liffey Valley to City Centre CBC Scheme (End of June);
- Ballymun/Finglas to City Centre CBC Scheme (Start of July).
As each scheme is submitted for approval to An Bord Pleanála the process of public notifications in newspapers and online will be repeated. After these first six scheme applications are made, the remaining six projects will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála during the second half of this year.
Amendments to Clongriffin to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme
The NTA intends to submit the Clongriffin to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme statutory application documentation to An Bord Pleanála as the first Scheme for approval.
For information, a small number of changes have been made to this scheme following consideration of the submissions received during the third round of public consultation (at the end of 2020) and these are summarised below.
- The scheme is now proposed to commence at the Mayne River Avenue / Malahide Road junction whereas previously it commenced at Clongriffin Dart Station;
- A number of junction modifications have been made;
- The layouts of all bus stops along the route have been enhanced and some bus stop locations and layouts have been optimised to allow better connectivity for bus passengers;
- Landscaping has been updated along the route; and
- Cycle facilities have been further optimised.
Feedback on the whole scheme, including the changes above, can be made as part of the submission process to An Bord Pleanála during the formal public consultation phase, which will commence in early April and will be advertised publicly.
It is the NTA’s intention to issue further updates when each planning consent application is being made to An Bord Pleanála. Further updates will be provided at that point.