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Swords environmental group seeks to protect ‘green belt’ around the town

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A local protest group is campaigning to protect a valuable greenbelt which rests between three neighboring Swords communities.

Save Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan Greenbelt” has been campaigning for over 25 years to protect the greenbelt, and is urging all Fingal Cllrs to reject a submission calling for the land to be rezoned.

According to the residents group, rezoning of the land would “destroy a vital greenbelt in the middle of a climate change crisis, with the loss of biodiversity and increased pollution.”

The group has said rezoning would lead to unsustainable pressure on existing overstretched vital services, eg, schools, healthcare, transport, and amenities, and would merge four large estates “into one concrete urban sprawl.”

The group fears that if the lands were to be rezoned, Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan would “cease to exist as distinct communities.”

“Save Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan Greenbelt” has also pointed out that there is already a large surplus of residential zoned land in Swords, claiming the proposal to rezone the land therefore “does not make sense.”

To date, the group has said, over 1,500 residents have signed a petition calling for the greenbelt’s protection, and over 300 submissions were made during the current (2023-2029) Draft Development Plan (DPP) consultation process asking for the greenbelt to be protected .

Submissions were made by a range of residents, community groups and councillors.

In contrast, “only two” submissions called for the greenbelt to be rezoned.

In addition, “Save Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan Greenbelt” has stated that Fingal County Council’s Chief Executive supports the protection of the greenbelt, as set out in the Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023.

“Save Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan Greenbelt” has said the greenbelt also plays a “key role” in protecting the ecology of Ward River Park.

According to the protest group, rezoning would “destroy biodiversity and this precious resource and will lead to increased pollution and traffic congestion.”

A spokesperson for “Save Rivervalley, Ridgewood and Knocksedan Greenbelt” told The Fingal Independent recently: “For all the above reasons (and more), retaining and protecting this greenbelt will be highly important for the health and well-being of the people living in the community, especially our children.

“We are urging all of Fingal’s Cllrs to reject submission FIN-C453-259, which calls for the land to be rezoned.

“Instead, please vote to provide a clean, healthy and resilient community for now and generations to come.”

The spokesperson concluded: “We call upon all Fingal Cllrs to respect the wishes of our community and vote to protect the greenbelt.”

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