Dublin City Council publishes the following statement this afternoon regarding our Greening Strategy.
Dublin’s North East Inner City (NEIC) has significant social and economic challenges which both the Government and Dublin City Council have set out to address as part of a multi-annual programme of improvements. The NEIC Greening Strategy is one of these initiatives.
The lack of trees and greenspace is one of the challenges for people living in one of the most densely populated parts of the country. Green space, trees and access to nature reduce health inequalities, improve physical and mental well-being.
In a tree canopy survey carried out in 2017 it was found that there are just 1000 trees in the NEIC area equating to a canopy cover of only 1% compared to the figure of 10.2% tree canopy coverage for the city as a whole.
A year on from the start of this greening strategy every opportunity is being considered including build-outs onto roads and the redesign of existing car parking layouts for the construction of tree pits (James Joyce Street), Green walls (Seville Place, Liberty House and St Patricks Parade), the refurbishment of central medians within carriageways to facilitate greening interventions (Drumcondra Rd Lower) and the retro-planting of existing plazas and public spaces like Store Street, Belvedere Place and Gloucester Place.
Speaking about the strategy, Dublin City Council’s Leslie Moore, Head of Parks, Biodiversity and Landscape Services, says over “200m of roadside hedgerows have been installed within the north east inner city to date. Research has shown that roadside hedgerows are very effective at reducing pollution exposure, cutting black carbon by up to 63%”
The greening interventions so far have seen the removal of 830 sq. of hard surfaces, which allows for the re-establishment of the natural soil structure and its ecological and environmental functions.
Leslie Moore added “de-paving allows for the creation of open ground and under tree planting, creating street level habitats. An increase in the tree canopy cover and de-paving helps with the capture of rainfall and reduces surface water runoff which supports sustainable urban drainage.”
Since this initiative began 80 street trees have been planted in the first year. Over 8 different species of trees were introduced as part of these projects such as the tried and tested Plane tree (Platanus) but also more unusual trees such as the Honey locust (Gleditsia), Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia), and The Pagoda Tree (Sophora), which are being trialled in response to the warmer climatic conditions which prevail in the City Centre.
Birch (Betula) was chosen as the predominant species for planting as the locations were within densely populated areas beside main traffic corridors. Evidence has stacked up for the ill effects of traffic fumes and minuscule particulates, with studies linking them to asthma, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia and depression. Research has shown that Birch is the best performing species at removing air pollution, capturing up to 79% of ultra-fine particles from the air, dramatically increasing the air quality for the local community.
Leslie Moore added “Street tree selection is very important to future proof the longevity of trees. The urban realm introduces a lot of stress factors, and the trees chosen need to be pollution tolerant, drought tolerant, capable of enduring occasional flooding, tolerant of paving and robust enough to withstand anti-social behaviour.”
One of the central tenets of the strategy is the importance of community engagement. In order for any recommendations to be fulfilled, it is essential to establish a consultative process that engages the community and gives them an ownership of decisions that are made toward the regeneration of their area. To date there has been a wide variety of engagement through community workshops, stakeholder meetings and public engagement from senior citizens residential centres to primary schools, meetings in community centres, libraries, to open air meetings within parks.
The next phase of the NEIC Greening Strategy will see further community participation with volunteer groups, schools and local residents to facilitate and promote greening opportunities on an individual scale to develop and enhance private spaces.
The main parks in the area Mountjoy Square, Diamond Park, Liberty Park and Sheriff Street Park are also currently the subject of improvement plans.
The NEIC Greening Strategy and projects is an initiative by Dublin City Council’s Parks, Biodiversity and Landscape Services and the NEIC Area Office. The NEIC Greening Strategy is one of a number of greening initiatives aimed at reducing the impacts of greenspace and tree canopy deficits, which were highlighted in the Dublin City Parks Strategy 2019.These include the Liberties Greening Strategy (2015) and The Stoneybatter Greening Strategy for which the outcome of the public consultation will be published shortly.
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Leader, Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee