Whitestown Dump: Solution must not become the problem

1st August 2017

Last week’s High Court decision on the remediation of Whitestown Dump was discussed at a special meeting of Wicklow Council on Monday, 24th July in County Chambers.

Following the meeting, Social Democrat Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore said “There are many questions that need to be answered about the initial remediation undertaken by Wicklow County Council and the EPA. For example, who made the decision to only part-remediate the site, why was that decision made and who authorised it? This decision has now left us with a very costly legacy and it’s important that these questions are answered in full.

“However, also of utmost importance is what is going to happen at Whitestown from now on. The judge has directed that the dump is fully remediated – meaning that all dumped material is to be removed. This is a huge undertaking and will be very costly. 

Whitmore, whose background is in Environmental Law and Fisheries, said “It is critical that the solution that is put in place at Whitestown does not cause any environmental damage and does not itself become a problem. Some of the material that was dumped there has been in that site for up to 40 years. Disturbing this material at this stage could cause further problems. I welcome WCC’s recommendation that an Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed remediation be undertaken. I believe that this is prudent and should happen, particularly because of the Carrigower River that runs alongside the site. The Carrigower is a tributary of the River Slaney, which is an important salmonid system.

Cllr Whitmore also welcomed the support of her fellow Councillors for her request at the special meeting that WCC ensures a full and transparent implementation of any future remediation plan. She said “It’s critical that the community is kept fully informed during this entire process. This is to include an information website, where the progress of the remediation and the results of any environmental monitoring is publicly available. In addition, key stakeholders such as Inland Fisheries, National Parks and Wildlife and both Wexford and Carlow County Councils are to be involved. And, there was also agreement that Community Liaison Committees be established to ensure that the local residents are kept informed of progress at the site.”