Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation
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SDWF concerned about lack of Conservation Plan for the estuary

SDWF have written to Minister of Environment Dick Roche requesting advice on the current status of the Lower River Shannon cSAC Conservation Plan and the timetable for implementation.

The Lower River Shannon was designated as a candidate Special Area of Conservation in 1999. A draft Conservation Plan was prepared in 2002 for consultation. We understand that the plan has not yet been through the consultation process and is not available to stakeholders and interested parties. At a recent meeting of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Committee regret was expressed for a number of reasons.

1. Each year since 2000, tour boat operators in the Shannon estuary require permission to dolphinwatch as this activity is listed under the Notifiable Actions. Each year on receiving permission from the National Parks and Wildlife Service they are requested to “abide by the Conservation Plan”. There is no plan available to abide by and important management considerations cannot be made.

2. There is evidence of an increase in interest in developing the Shannon estuary for industry. Recently Shannon Development announced an interest on part of their 600 acre land bank at Ballylongford, Co Kerry. It is anticipated that additional land banks along the estuary might be developed in the coming years and it is essential that if these developers are to give full consideration to the conservation status of the estuary, and develop suitable mitigation, then they need to be informed on the Conservation Plan.

The Lower River Shannon cSAC is one of the largest in the country and certainly has most pressure from industrial development. We are not opposed to this development but we do feel strongly that if the conservation status of the cSAC is to be maintained and fully integrated into the planning process then it is essential that a Conservation Plan, outlining the conservation interest and their sensitivies, must be available.

 


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Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
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The SDWF is supported by the following agencies... Shannon Development Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Marine Institute Clare County Council Kilrush Urban District Counil
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