Iarnród Éireann’s (IÉ) existing Train Radio system, which provides for safety critical communications between the train drivers and controlling signalmen for train management and regulation, is technologically obsolete and life expired. A programme is currently being undertaken by IÉ to replace the existing analogue system with a GSM-R system, which is mandated for the application under the EU Railway Interoperability Directives. Due to the higher operating frequency of GSM-R compared to the analogue system, additional radio transmitter sites are required along the rail line to achieve the necessary 100% route coverage. This required the erection of a telecommunications mast at this proposed location.
A Screening for Appropriate Assessment and Natura Impact Assessment were completed by TOBIN. The source-receptor-pathway model revealed that the Slaney River Valley SAC and Wexford Harbour and Slobs SPA in the absence of mitigation were considered to potentially be at risk of adverse effects from the proposed development. Following Mitigation, it was determined that there would be no risk of adverse effects on the qualifying interest habitats and species, or on overall site integrity, nor in the attainment of their specific conservation objectives for the Slaney River Valley SAC or Wexford Harbour and Slobs SPA.