Concerned Enniskerry residents are in a race against time to raise funds to take a legal challenge against planning permission for residential housing close to Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve.
ave Enniskerry and Protect Knocksink is a group of residents who have come together to raise €50,000 for legal fees to enable them to lodge a judicial review to protect the special area of conservation. €25,000 of this needs to be raised by Thursday, December 1.
The lobby group says: “The recent decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant a high-density strategic housing development (SHD) at Parcnasillogue, Enniskerry has caused grave concern among local residents and Friends of Knocksink. As Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve is located directly below the proposed development site, it is feared that this decision will cause harm to the woods and its fragile biodiversity.”
Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve is a designated Special Area of Conservation and has been given priority status under the EU Habitats directive. It is also a designated Natura 2000 EU Special Area of Conservation and Nature Reserve. It hosts numerous fragile habitats with high biodiversity value and is considered a potential ancient woodland. The Glencullen River that flows through it is one of the few pristine rivers left in Ireland.
The group say: “In October, An Bord Pleanála approved a SHD for a further 219 residential units (135 houses and 84 apartments). One of the biggest threats to Knocksink Wood will come from the polluted or contaminated water that will flow from the development site into the woods as the site is located directly above it. Any change to the hydrology on the site can materially damage or cause loss to the fragile biodiversity that has afforded Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve its Special Area of Conservation status.”
Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve is unique to Wicklow and the group stresses its importance to the area: “We are all custodians of this ecological jewel. It is vital for all of us to ensure that it is protected– not only for its unique flora and fauna, but also for future generations. In this time of bio-diversity crisis we cannot allow harm to Knocksink Wood Nature Reserve.”
The groups GoFundMe page is called Save Enniskerry & Protect Knocksink.