The project entails the development of the Blueway through the townlands of Lowtown, Rathangan, Monasterevin, Vicarstown and Athy. The route runs from Lowtown along the route of the Grand Canal Barrow line and follow the trackway along the river.
The main components of the works include:
Improvement works to road crossings and associated road paving, road marking, safety signage, public lighting, footpath provision, fencing and railings.
On the 24th of March 2021, Waterways Ireland in working in partnership with the four Local Authorities (Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford) officially launched the Royal Canal Greenway. The Greenway is the latest of a range of greenway options available in Ireland. It is a product of scale, the longest of its kind, stretching for 130km from Maynooth to Longford Town / Cloondara alongside the tranquil and historic Royal Canal. It has potential for local / community use as a recreational space, to attract domestic visitors from Ireland, and to cater for an international audience, interested in completing a long-distance experience.
A steering group (the “Steering Group”) has been established to co-ordinate the development, activation and marketing of the Royal Canal Greenway comprising Waterways Ireland, Longford County Council, Westmeath County Council, Meath County Council and Kildare County Council.
Waterways Ireland wishes to learn from and build upon the experience gained in undertaking this project as it is anticipated that the initial contract in respect of the Royal Canal Greenway will be the first in a series. Waterways Ireland and partner agencies are developing other long distance multi-activity trails alongside its canals which will be branded as either Greenways or Blueways.
Conclusion: No significant effects likely to arise associated with the potential impacts on environmental parameters
The proposed greenway development at Newtown Castletroy does not trigger the threshold for mandatory EIA/EIAR as set out in the 2001 Regulations (as Amended) and has been assessed as a sub-threshold EIA development. This EIA Screening Assessment has determined that the characteristics of the proposed development are considered not significant due to the scale and nature of the proposed development and its footprint, which is confined to an area of approximately 1.1ha, the characteristics and sensitivities of the receiving environment and design and mitigation measures that will be implemented as part of the construction phase and operation phase of the proposed development
The proposed development does not exceed any of the thresholds outlined in the Roads Act 1993-2007 that would trigger a mandatory requirement to prepare an EIA Report
An ecological report was prepared for the proposed greenway and this was accompanied by a Stage 1 AA Screening Report. The AA states it is considered that the proposed works do not require progression to second stage Appropriate Assessment
The proposed greenway through the pNHA is to be located on a raised boardwalk
The proposed development Under Section 50 (1) (c) of the Roads Act 1997-2007 and the guidance contained in Section 1 and 2 of the Screening Report is unlikely to have a significant effect on the environment.
This EIA Screening Report concludes that an EIA for the proposed development is not required.