Planning Portal

Attwood gives restoration of historic Ulster Canal the go-ahead

Published on Thu, 25 Apr 2013 by ecomms@doeni.gov.uk.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood today announced planning permission to restore part of the historic Ulster Canal that has not been used since 1929.
The original Ulster Canal was completed in 1841 and linked the Erne System to Lough Neagh with a navigation route of 93kms. It was last used for trading boats in 1929 and officially closed two years later.

The application is to restore 14kms of the navigational route in total - 5.5kms of river navigation from Quivvy Lough to Gortnacarrow and 8.5kms of canal from Gortnacarrow to Clones.

This will involve construction of the existing canal route and tow paths for public access on both banks. New road bridges are to be constructed at Derrykerrib, Wattle Bridge, Gortnacarrow and Clonfad/Munilly with three farm accommodation bridges.

The plan is to restore two existing canal bridges and a double lock at Gortnacarrow that will facilitate a rise from the River Finn to the canal section. A mooring of 170metres with 32 car parking spaces and public toilets will be provided at Gortnacarrow. A picnic area and a further 20 parking spaces will be provided at the new bridge at Clonfad/Munilly.

Alex Attwood said: “The Ulster Canal restoration project has been a key heritage and tourist attraction for a long time, which has gathered momentum since the late 90s. Today is a turning point for the project. I hope the Planners’ green light means the project can accelerate.

“This is an example of cross-border initiatives working and working well. It follows from my announcement to give planning permission to the bridge at Narrow Water, linking Warrenpoint and Omeath.

“This cross-border project will be a boost for the people of Fermanagh, Cavan and Monaghan. It will re-open a historic waterway that has not been used for over 80 years and offers huge opportunities for regeneration and leisure-related activities for the entire region.”

Four accompanying applications for Listed Building Consent to carry out works to repair and restore three listed bridges and works to the Clones Aqueduct have also been approved.

The DOE consulted Fermanagh District Council on its opinion to approve this application on 18 April 2013. Monaghan County Council and Clones Town Council have signalled that planning approval should be granted for the Southern side of the canal and Cavan County Council have already granted planning permission for their section of the canal.

Notes to editors:

1. Planning application L/2011/0833/F for the restoration of the canal was submitted to DOE Planning and Local Government Group on 02 November 2011.

2. The applicants are Waterways Ireland.

3. Navigation begins in Upper Lough Erne at Quivvy Lough in County Fermanagh and then travels up the River Finn to Gortnacarrow, travelling along the County Cavan border at Castle Saunderson. From Gortnacarrow the canal travels northeast to Clones, crossing the border between the north (Co Fermanagh) and the south (County Monaghan) three times. The restored navigational route will be 14kms in total with 5.5kms or river navigation from Quivvy Lough to Gortnacarrow and 8.5kms of canal from Gortnacarrow to Clones.

4. Monaghan County Council and Clones Town Council have issued a notification of decision to grant planning permission on 8 April and 02 April 2013 respectively.

5. Cavan County Council granted permission under planning application 11/294 for the development of reopening the section of the Ulster Canal from Lough Erne to Clones Town on 1/2/2012. This was for a distance of approximately 11.6km. Within the County Cavan Council area, the development proposes the dredging of approximately 740m3 of material from a 725m section of the River Finn. An Environmental Impact Statement was prepared and submitted as part of the planning application.

6. The work is expected to cost in the region of €35 million and will take approximately three years to construct. Further detail of the project can be obtained from Waterways Ireland.

7. The application is an EIA development and is accompanied by an Environmental Statement.

8. The application was dealt with by the Western Area Office of the Department of Environment’s Planning and Local Government Group in Enniskillen.

9. Four accompanying applications for Listed Building Consent to carry out works to repair and restore three listed bridges and also works to the Clones Aqueduct, have also been approved, references L/2011/0847/LBC at Munnilly/Clonfad, L/2011/0849/LBA at Clones Aqueduct, L/2011/0850/LBC at Cloncorick and L/2011/0852/LBC at Wattlebridge.

10. For media enquiries or images contact DOE Press Office Tel: 028 9025 6058. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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