#haulbowline – The toxic site at Haulbowline in Cork Harbour looks set to be cleaned up following a Government decision to allocate a total budget for the island remediation project of €61m.
Commenting at the decision, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said "I welcome the approval of this very significant €61m in funding to take a "whole of island" approach to the remediation of Haulbowline Island. We have already seen An Bord Pleanála and the EPA give approval for the remediation project and the completion of crucial work to repair the Haulbowline Island access Bridges. While analysis, testing, design and enabling works have been continuing we can now look forward to the core remediation work at Haulbowline Island including remediation of the East Tip, former steelworks factory site and south tip".
In 2011, As Afloat reported, Europe gave a deadline of three months to 'clean up' the site. Earlier this year, there was speculation the cleaned up site could be a future hub for international yachting.
The Minister went on to say "The next phase of the project, following the agreement of my Cabinet colleagues, is the most complex phase to date and is expected to take approximately six months to complete, following the appointment of Consultants. This will lead to commencement of initial elements of the core remediation 'clean-up' phase on site, by late 2015. This work will intensify into 2016 and 2017 with significant progress towards completion of the project expected by late 2017. There will be significant construction activity on the island, it will bring substantial benefits to the local economy and transform the Island into a genuine national infrastructural asset. "
The Government approved a proposal to enable the clean-up of the East Tip on Haulbowline Island in 2011. Cork County Council is acting as agent of the Minister in the remediation of the site. Key milestones of the remediation project were the planning application for works on the East Tip, lodged with An Bord Pleanála in October 2013 and the waste licence application, submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency in November 2013. The approval of both planning and waste licence applications which involved complex and detailed preparatory work cleared the way for the completion of the project in the East Tip. Today the Government has agreed a total budget of €61m for the remediation of all areas of the island (East Tip, South Tip and former steelworks site) and not just the East Tip which is the focus of an ECJ judgement.
Haulbowline Island is located within Cork Harbour, between Cobh to the north and Ringaskiddy to the south. The East Tip contains approximately 650,000m3 of steelworks waste that was deposited on a sand spit over a 40 year period. The demolition of the former steelworks has also left a large site in the centre of the island that is unusable pending remediation. Access to the Island by road is from Ringaskiddy via bridges which transverse Rocky Island.