Protected Areas

Read about the extraordinary removal of more than 100,000 hectares of land that should have been protected for the endangered Hen harrier. Be astonished by the documentation showing how the Minister then responsible for the designations - Eamon O Cuiv - gave Brussels ‘inflexible and unreasonable' attitude towards the Habitats Directive as a reason for voting NO in the Nice Referendum in 2001. Are we surprised then by the massive IFA public meetings that led to the banning of Duchas [The Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment] representatives from farms and Duchas's closure by the Cabinet in 2003? The designations were slashed to allow afforestation to continue when forestry represents at best only a temporary habitat and replaces a permanent habitat for these birds. Key habitats were excluded, and 10,000 hectares more forestry was permitted in protected areas which are already at carrying capacity due to existing forestry.

Read the submission.    |    See the maps showing the vanishing Hen harrier.


After telephone calls from angry members of the public, FIE examined the felling which has recently taken place of the heritage trees which formed part of a 19th century planned landscape on the shores of Lough Leane, Killarney.

After FIE's reports last week, The Killarney Golf and Fishing Club told both the Guards and the Forest Service that the trees they had felled were within 100 feet of the building and were therefore exempt from the Felling License requirements.

According to our measurements taken Saturday 21 February, 2009, the 100 foot zone does not include all of the trees. We have requested the Club to cease all works, specifically including the removal of further stumps, until the authorities have completed their investigations.

The felling of these trees is cultural vandalism that is a shame to this club and to the ethos of its members.      Read our fax to the Club this morning.


Irish environmental groups have called for a moratorium on wind farm constructions on bog sites until Best Practice Guidelines for construction on peatlands are in place. A landslide in the Stacks Mountains in County Kerry in August has now been followed by a further landslide in County Leitrim. The Shannon Regional Fisheries Board has confirmed that both of these bogslides have led to extensive juvenile fish kills and destruction of the aquatic environment. The two slides occurred while roads were under construction on raised peat lands. The roads are to facilitate the construction of wind farms. 

Read the Press Release  |   The Letter to the Minister for the Environment    |   The Letter to the Minister for Energy    |    Photos   |  Video of Owengar Spill   |  European Court Judgment

 


PRESS RELEASEFRIDAY 3 OCTOBER 2006 CALL FOR MORATORIUM ON BOG SITES WIND FARMS CONSTRUCTION Groups cite EU Court Judgment in call for Best Practice Guidelines. Irish environmental groups have called for a moratorium on wind farm constructions on bog sites until Best Practice Guidelines for construction on peatlands are in place.  A landslide in the Stacks Mountains in County Kerry in August has now been followed by a further landslide in County Leitrim. The Shannon Regional Fisheries Board has confirmed that both of these bogslides have led to extensive juvenile fish kills and destruction of the aquatic environment.  The two slides occurred while roads were under construction on raised peat lands. The roads are to facilitate the construction of wind farms. The latest slide took place last week on the Owengar River, a tributary of Lough Allen, an area rich in biodiversity. Local environmental group CLEAN said that the landslide is far more damaging than has been reported to date. It has resulted in widespread ecological destruction and is potentially devastating for Lough Allen’s spawning beds of trout and Pollan. The Fisheries Board has confirmed that ‘species impacted include wild Brown Trout, Lamprey, Stone loach, Stickleback, and Eels’.  In Kerry public water sourced from the Smearlagh river, supplying about 4,000 people, was discontinued and replaced with an alternative supply. The Feale river which supplies the towns of Listowel and Ballybunion was also affected.  The groups have written to the Minister for the Environment seeking a moratorium on further windfarm developments on peat bogs until the Minister can be satisfied that more devastating incidents will not occur again. They cite the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board’s recent call for developers and Local Authorities to urgently ‘review the road construction techniques currently in use and put preventative measures in place to minimize the possibility of further peatslides’. Ireland was prosecuted by the European Courts earlier this year over its handling of road construction for wind farms on bogs. The courts found that Ireland consistently failed to conduct Environmental Assessments correctly, leading to consequences such as the Derrybrien bogslide in County Galway.  According to Friends of the Irish Environment, the judgment admonished Ireland because the Irish planning authorities have consistently argued that ‘the ancillary works of peat extraction and road construction were minor aspects of the project of wind farm construction’ and ‘that they did not in themselves require assessment’.  “It is particularly disturbing that in the recent two cases it appears to have been the mishandling of turf stack piled during road construction that led to the bogslides.” In a parallel letter to the Minister for Energy the group drew attention to the case of the wholly owned subsidiary of the ESB, Hibernian Power, and its subsidiaries. A spokesperson said that ‘there are 19 proposals from these companies alone over which the Minister has the direct power to intervene, including the site of the current bogslide.’ An Taisce want a full and independent investigation into the cause of the landslides. “To comply with legal requirements to apply the precautionary principle, peat landslide hazard and risk assessments must be undertaken. No further developments can be permitted to proceed until this process is complete and Guidelines similar to those in other countries are in place” said a spokesperson.  ENDS Comments:Sarah Malone IPCC 045 860133Tony Lowes FIE 027 73131 / 087 2176316 The Letter to the Minister for the Environmenthttp://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?do=friendswork&action=view&id=711 The Letter to the Minister for Energy http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/friendswork/index.php?do=friendswork&action=view&id=712 Photos fromhttp://picasaweb.google.com/garrethmcdaid/Landslide#High resolution versions on request Video of Owengar Spillhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAxnqcAHUbU URL of European Court Judgmenthttp://friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/eu/index.php?action=view&id=97 

 

After telephone calls from angry members of the public, FIE examined the felling which has recently taken place of the heritage trees which formed part of a 19th century planned landscape on the shores of Lough Leane, Killarney.

After FIE's reports last week, The Killarney Golf and Fishing Club told both the Guards and the Forest Service that the trees they had felled were within 100 feet of the building and were therefore exempt from the Felling License requirements.

According to our measurements taken Saturday 21 February, 2009, the 100 foot zone does not include all of the trees. We have requested the Club to cease all works, specifically including the removal of further stumps, until the authorities have completed their investigations.

The felling of these trees is cultural vandalism that is a shame to this club and to the ethos of its members.      Read our fax to the Club this morning.


Eamonn Ryan, TD,
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,
29 Adelaide Road,
Dublin 2,
3 October 2008
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Re: Moratorium on upland wind farm construction

Dear Minister;

We write as a group of local and national environmental organizations who have come together to try and stop the environmental damage that is being done to our bogs through the construction of the present generation of wind farms.

 


We attach a letter we have written to your colleague John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, seeking a moratorium on the construction of wind farms on bog sites after the recent bogslides in Counties Kerry and Leitrim.

These slides are associated with the construction of wind farms which were approved previous to the European Court Judgement of 3 July 2008 in which the Court pointed out that Ireland held the EIA Directive ‘was not applicable, since the ancillary works of peat extraction and road construction were minor aspects of the project of wind farm construction itself.'

We quote the Southern region Fisheries Board's recent call for Guidelines based on peat landslide hazard and risk assessment and are seeking a cessasation of all work until this is done.

We would be grateful if you examined this matter in relation to the activities of Hiobernian Wind Power and its wholly owned subsidiaries, which are wholly owned by the ESB and are, we understand, currently responsible for some 19 wind farm constructions projects. Hibernia Wind Power was also the developer in the judgment referred to above from the European Court of Justice.

It is clear from European case law that every emanation of the State is required to do what it can to make good any defect in any Environmental Impact Assessment process. We believe that no further wind generation construction should be licensced by your authority in such locations until their impact is suitably assessed in accordance with the Court Judgment and until mandatory Guidelines for this construction based on peat landslide hazard and risk assessment are put in place.

Respectfully yours,

An Taisce - The National Trust for Ireland
Anja Murray

CLEAN - Cavan Leitrim Environment Network
Peter Crossan, Joachim Schaefer

Derrybrien Development Society Ltd
Martin Collins

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE)
Tony Lowes

Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC)
Sarah Malone

Irish Wildlife Trust
Joanne Pender

Address for correspondence: c/o Tony Lowes, Friends of the Irish Environment, Allihies, County Cork
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