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Barrow Maintenance Plan

Waterways Ireland to submit planning applications for Barrow Navigation maintenance works

The Barrow Navigation Scheduled Maintenance Programme is a 5-Year Strategic Framework designed to enable Waterways Ireland to undertake essential maintenance works along this waterway.  These works are essential to maintain the integrity of the waterway and its environs, as well as safeguarding the continued use and sustainable enjoyment, for this and future generations.

The Barrow Navigation is a nationally important heritage corridor comprising a rich tapestry of natural, built and cultural assets.  The biodiversity value of the river has been recognised through its designation as a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive.  Many of the structures along the navigation (e.g. bridges, locks, buildings) are Protected Structures and/or National Monuments.  Importantly, the river is part of the surrounding cultural landscape, having influenced the development and social fabric of many towns and villages along its route.

Waterways Ireland has submitted planning applications to Carlow, Kildare and Laois County Councils for the five-year schedule of routine and essential maintenance works along the Barrow Navigation.

Planning applications have been submitted to each local authority for maintenance works including dredging, trackway maintenance, small-scale bank repair and bank strengthening. Until recently, these works would have been undertaken on the Barrow Navigation by Waterways Ireland and its predecessor authorities, per their statutory remit. Due to recent changes in environmental case law, certain aspects of these routine maintenance works now require consent from the relevant planning authority. This five-year maintenance programme on the Barrow Navigation contains a schedule of such works, which have been subject to rigorous environmental, archaeological and flood risk assessments.

Gerard Bayley, Senior Engineer on the Barrow with Waterways Ireland said: "The Barrow Navigation is a nationally important heritage corridor comprising a rich tapestry of natural, built and cultural assets. At Waterways Ireland, our goal is to ensure we can provide safe and sustainable experiences for all users of our waterways. We seek to maintain the heritage and biodiversity of Ireland's waterways while providing a high-quality navigation and recreation offering, for the benefit of all."

The second element of the strategic approach to the Barrow Navigation involves infrastructure investment. Focusing on weirs, bridges, locks, quay walls, slipways and buildings, it will ensure that the heritage assets under Waterways Ireland's custodianship are protected and maintained.

The third element of the strategic approach to the Barrow Navigation is working with partners to develop a tourism masterplan for the river, enabling it to become a key tourism destination for the region.

We are delighted to now commence our journey for the Barrow Navigation Maintenance Programme with the submission of planning permission applications. This represents a significant financial investment in the navigation and offers a huge opportunity for the tourism and economic development of the region. We look forward to working with local and national partners and the communities in Kildare, Laois, Kilkenny and Carlow for whom the Barrow Navigation is a key part of their lives to bring this exciting plan to fruition over the coming years.

The nature and extent of the works being proposed are outlined in the tables below:

 

Barrow Navigation Scheduled Maintenance Works in County Kildare:

Work ItemDescriptionLocation & Extent
Bank Revetment / Strengthening Works

This work involves the repair of sections of bank along the Barrow Navigation which have collapsed or been undermined due to strong currents.

One method involves repairing the damaged bank by facing the bank with large rock and/or boulders (rock armor) and filling any remaining voids between the bank and the rock revetment with smaller stones via long-reach excavator to protect the bank from further erosion.

An alternative method involves raising sections of the bank using stone and filler clay.

 

  • c. 400m section of the bank upstream of Tankardstown Bridge (Levitstown) (via repairing bank subsidence using stone and filler clay)
  • c. 1.4km section of bank starting north of Bestfield Lock and finishing approximately at the Lerr River confluence (via rock armour)
Post-Flood Spot Dredging

Spot dredging involves the removal of silt and gravel which has been carried downstream following winter floods and is typically deposited at the heads and tails of canals, locks and the confluences of rivers and streams. Only the deposited silt is removed to restore the original navigable design depth.

 

Two methodologies are used depending on the nature and location of the site: excavator working from the bank or water-based plant (WaterMaster).

 

  • Confluence with River Greese (c. 60m x c. 5m)
  • Downstream of Maganey Lock (c. 25m x c. 4m)
Maintenance Dredging

The work involves the dredging of silt and gravel which has accumulated in the navigation channel and is preventing the safe passage of craft. Only the extraneous material is removed to restore the navigable design depth.

Two methodologies are used depending on the nature and location of the site: excavator working from the bank or water-based plant (WaterMaster).

It should be noted these works are only necessary once throughout the life of this application and after that greater than an approx. 10-year period (often greater).

 

  • Levitstown Canal (c. 2000m in length)
Back-drain Maintenance

Back-drain maintenance involves the removal of excessive vegetation, fallen branches, debris and silt which has accumulated in the back-drain channel and is impeding drainage water movement.

Only the extraneous material will be removed (via tracked excavator) to restore the design depth, the original base of the back-drain will not be altered.

These works would be only undertaken once throughout the life of this application.

 

  • Ardreigh Back-drain (c. 600m in length)
Small-scale Bank Repairs

Small-scale bank repairs involve repairing isolated holes or minor stretches of trackway banks via infilling using mixture of blast rock and puddle clay to fill in the damaged section. The repaired areas will be covered by a fine layer of topsoil if required and allowed to re-vegetate naturally.

These maintenance works will also include for any additional bank stabilisation over the 5-year maintenance period.

 

  • c. 1km section of trackway between Ardreigh amenity jetty and Ardreigh Weir


Barrow Navigation Scheduled Maintenance Works in County Laois:

Work ItemDescriptionLocation & Extent
Post-Flood Spot Dredging

Spot dredging involves the removal of silt and gravel which has been carried downstream following winter floods and is typically deposited at the heads and tails of canals, locks and the confluences of rivers and streams. Only the deposited silt is removed to restore the original navigable design depth.

 

Two methodologies are used depending on the nature and location of the site: excavator working from the bank or water-based plant (WaterMaster).

 

Downstream of Clogrennan Lock at slipway (c. 30m x 8m)
Maintenance Dredging

The work involves the dredging of silt and gravel which has accumulated in the navigation channel and is preventing the safe passage of craft. Only the extraneous material is removed to restore the navigable design depth.

Two methodologies are used depending on the nature and location of the site: excavator working from the bank or water-based plant (WaterMaster).

It should be noted these works are only necessary once throughout the life of this application and after that greater than an approx. 10-year period (often greater).

 

Clogrennan Canal (c. 1200m in length)


Barrow Navigation Scheduled Maintenance Works in County Carlow:

Work Item

Description

Location & Extent

Bank Revetment / Strengthening Works

This work involves the repair of sections of bank along the Barrow Navigation which have collapsed or been undermined due to strong currents.

One method involves repairing the damaged bank by facing the bank with large rock and/or boulders (rock armor) and filling any remaining voids between the bank and the rock revetment with smaller stones via long-reach excavator to protect the bank from further erosion.

An alternative method involves raising sections of the bank using stone and filler clay.

 

  • c. 250m section of the bank upstream of Ballytiglea Lock which is subsiding towards the back-drain (via repairing bank subsidence using stone and filler clay)

  • c. 2.5km section of bank between Clogrennan and Ballinabranagh (via rock armour)

  • c. 1km section of bank between Graiguenamanagh and Ballykeenan (via rock armour)

  • c. 600m section of the bank starting between the Lerr River confluence and Newgarden (via rock armour)

Post-Flood Spot Dredging

Spot dredging involves the removal of silt and gravel which has been carried downstream following winter floods and is typically deposited at the heads and tails of canals, locks and the confluences of rivers and streams. Only the deposited silt is removed to restore the original navigable design depth.

Two methodologies are used depending on the nature and location of the site; excavator working from the bank or water-based plant (WaterMaster).

  • Downstream of Clashganna Lock (below river confluence) (c. 50m x c. 7m)

  • Downstream of Upper Tinnahinch Lock (c. 25m x c. 5m)

  • Downstream of Ballytiglea Lock (c. 100m x c. 5m)

  • Downstream of Bagenalstown Lock (c. 100m x c. 6m)

  • Upstream of Lower Tinnahinch Lock (c. 25m x c. 4m)

  • Upstream / Downstream of Bestfield Lock (c. 70m x c. 6m)

  • Downstream of Milford Lock (c. 25m x c. 8m)

  • Downstream of Fenniscourt Lock (c. 25m x c. 8m)

     

Maintenance Dredging

The work involves the dredging of silt and gravel which has accumulated in the navigation channel and is preventing the safe passage of craft. Only the extraneous material is removed to restore the navigable design depth.

Two methodologies are used depending on the nature and location of the site; excavator working from the bank or water-based plant (WaterMaster).

It should be noted these works are only necessary once throughout the life of this application and after that greater than an approx. 10-year period (often greater).

 

  • Downstream of Borris Lock (c. 400m in length)

  • Rathellin Canal (c. 1300m in length)

  • St. Mullin's Canal (c. 650m in length)

Back-drain Maintenance

Back-drain maintenance involves the removal of excessive vegetation, fallen branches, debris and silt which has accumulated in the back-drain channel and is impeding drainage water movement.

Only the extraneous material will be removed (via tracked excavator) to restore the design depth, the original base of the back-drain will not be altered.

These works would be only undertaken once throughout the life of this application.

 

  • Fenniscourt Back-drain (c. 500m in length)

  • Rathellen Back-drain (c. 500m in length)

Small-scale Bank Repairs

Small-scale bank repairs involve repairing isolated holes or minor stretches of trackway banks via infilling using mixture of blast rock and puddle clay to fill in the damaged section. The repaired areas will be covered by a fine layer of topsoil if required and allowed to re-vegetate naturally.

These maintenance works will also include for any additional bank stabilisation over the 5-year maintenance period.

 

  • c. 100m section of the trackway downstream of Borris Lock

  • c. 100m section of the trackway downstream of Upper Ballyellen Lock

  • c. 1km section of trackway between Leighlinbridge and the Rathellen Canal

Trackway Surface Upgrade

The upgrade works will be undertaken during the dryer months from April to October and will be divided into phases of approx. 2 weeks each to ensure each phase is completed prior to arrival of the spring tides. This work will be undertaken by a team of 8-10 operatives and will be divided into 5 phases, starting at the northern end of the proposed site.

The existing trackway will be scraped back, and Clause 804 material spread out along the track. A roller will then be used to form a well bonded base before applying a 200mm depth of concrete to form 3m wide road surface. Landscaped verges and edges will be levelled with the path surface.

  • Trackway between St. Mullin's Lock and St. Mullin's Car Park (c. 1km)

The Barrow Navigation is designated as a Special Area of Conservation which means that all works within, or influencing designated sites must be Screened for Appropriate Assessment.  Where Appropriate Assessment is required, then Waterways Ireland must receive consent for these works from the relevant planning authority.  The planning applications for this Maintenance Plan has been submitted to

  • Kildare County Council
  • Laois County Council
  • Carlow County Council

Documents, including but not limited to the following, form part of each application:

  • Natura Impact Statement (NIS)
  • Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA)
  • Outline Construction & Environmental Management Plan (OCEMP)
  • Archaeological Impact Assessment
  • Flood Risk Assessment (FRA)
  • Pre-SEA Screening Report
  • EIA Screening Report
  • Planning Reports
  • Planning Drawings

The final decision on the outcome of these applications will be the responsibility of the relevant statutory planning authorities, Kildare, Laois and Carlow County Councils.

We encourage the public to engage with the planning process and make their voices heard.  The official, validated documents can be viewed through the following Council planning portals when they go live:

 

Local Authority
​Planning Portal Link
​Carlow County Council
link
​Kildare County Council
link
​Laois County Council
link

 

A submission or observation in relation to the application may be made in writing to the planning authority (not Waterways Ireland) on payment of the prescribed fee, €20, within the period of 5 weeks beginning on the date of receipt by the authority of the application.  Submissions or observations will be considered by the planning authority in making a decision on the application.  The planning authority may grant permission subject to or without conditions, or may refuse to grant permission.

Waterways Ireland is committed to the ongoing sustainable management of the waterways under its remit. 

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