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Shannon LNG: is using bottlenose dolphins as a key issue in this debate misplaced?

This week there is a judicial review of the planning application issued to Shannon LNG to construct a liquefied natural gas plant (LNG) terminal on the southern shore of the Shannon Estuary. Although planning permission was granted 10 years ago, after a full environmental impact assessment had been carried out, which included an Oral Hearing for local people to raise their concerns, this is a review of the decision made by An Bord Pleanála last July, to extend planning permission, rather than reviewing the necessity of an LNG terminal in Ireland

The potential negative impact on dolphins in the Shannon Estuary have been used by some groups as a justification to oppose planning permission. The IWDG are committed to the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoise and their habitats throughout Ireland. It was the IWDG way back in 1993, who identified the Shannon Estuary as home to a resident group of bottlenose dolphins, and provides a unique and extremely important habitat. The Shannon population is considered genetically discrete and recent research by the IWDG estimates just 154 individuals occur in the population. The dolphins use the entire estuary as far upriver as Limerick City and into the Fergus Estuary. For example, acoustic monitoring has shown they occur off Shannon Airport on 15% of days but off Moneypoint power station on 80% of days. Recently the IWDG have shown dolphins from the Shannon occur frequently and for long periods in Tralee and Brandon Bays outside the boundaries of the Lower River Shannon SAC and as far north as Kilkee and Doonbeg on the Clare coast.

Read the full article on

Dr Simon Berrow
CEO, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group


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