D3 Cruise Berth, Belfast Harbour

Belfast has become a popular destination in the last decade for international cruise companies, who make a significant economic contribution to the city and regional economy.  Belfast Harbour Commissioners appointed an RPS multi-disciplinary team to design & secure consent for new cruise berth facilities at D3 in the Harbour, as part of its long term plan to facilitate growth in the cruise ship traffic which has a very positive impact on the Northern Ireland economy.  The design encompassed a 340m quay wall, mooring dolphins, concrete deck and quay hinterland, reclamation, dredging and associated infrastructural works, adjacent to an RSPB Bird Reserve and Belfast Lough, a heavily environmentally designated area for bird assemblage. In tandem with the design process, RPS undertook a wide range of environmental and ornithological surveys and prepared a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment and Appropriate Assessment.  The planning team prepared and submitted a planning application and three marine license applications covering the construction, dredging and disposal operations anticipated, to secure consent for its construction and operation.

Challenge

Under the Planning Act (NI) 2011, the project was deemed to be regionally significant, and is dealt with by the Department of Infrastructure Strategic Planning Division.  In addition, the project included both marine and terrestrial elements, requiring both planning consent and marine license consent for the various elements of the berth.  Considerable pre-application discussions were required to discuss the key environmental issues with both DAERA and DfI SPD, and also agree the nature of the pre-application community consultations which are mandatory for a project of this scale.

The proposed cruise ship berth is to be located at D3 within the Belfast Harbour Estate, on Belfast Lough, which is a heavily designated waterbody on the basis of its considerable bird assemblage.  One of the key challenges was the assessment of the potential impacts on the ornithological selection features of the various designated sites - RSPB Reserve, Belfast Lough Area of Special Scientific Interest, two Special Protection Areas, and the proposed East Coast Marine SPA.

The planning application will be accompanied by a comprehensive Environmental Statement, Design & Access Statement and a Pre-Application Community Consultation Report.

Solution

Under the Planning Act (NI) 2011, the project was deemed to be regionally significant, and is dealt with by the Department of Infrastructure Strategic Planning Division.  In addition, the project included both marine and terrestrial elements, requiring both planning consent and marine license consent for the various elements of the berth.  Considerable pre-application discussions were required to discuss the key environmental issues with both DAERA and DfI SPD, and also agree the nature of the pre-application community consultations which are mandatory for a project of this scale.

The proposed cruise ship berth is to be located at D3 within the Belfast Harbour Estate, on Belfast Lough, which is a heavily designated waterbody on the basis of its considerable bird assemblage.  One of the key challenges was the assessment of the potential impacts on the ornithological selection features of the various designated sites - RSPB Reserve, Belfast Lough Area of Special Scientific Interest, two Special Protection Areas, and the proposed East Coast Marine SPA.

The planning application will be accompanied by a comprehensive Environmental Statement, Design & Access Statement and a Pre-Application Community Consultation Report.

Timeline

  • 2015

    RPS planning led, multi-disciplinary team appointed by Belfast Harbour Commissioners

  • 2016

    Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment complete;

  • 2016

    Planning application and Marine License applications submitted to relevant authorities

1 /03
2015

RPS planning led, multi-disciplinary team appointed by Belfast Harbour Commissioners

2016

Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment complete;

2016

Planning application and Marine License applications submitted to relevant authorities

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