Protection areas for wild birds will likely prevent the development of wind farms in parts of west and south Offaly, the recent meeting of the County Council heard.
The draft county development plan will list three special protection areas north of the town of Birr where the installation of turbines will be constrained.
The Dovegrove Callows is a feeding site for what council planner James Condron said is an “internationally important flock of Greenland white-fronted goose”.
The river Little Brosna Callows is of special conservation interest for whooper swan, Greenland white-fronted goose, wigeon, teal, pintail, shoveler, golden plover, lapwing, blacktailed godwit and black-headed gull. “The site is also of special conservation interest for holding an assemblage of over 20,000 wintering waterbirds,” councillors considering the draft development plan for 2021-2027 were were told.
Thirdly, All Saints Bog was known to be used in the past by the Greenland white-fronted goose, though according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service website, the last record of those birds there was when 75 of them were seen in 1993/1994.
“Merlin has been seen on the bog during the breeding season and may breed there,” a report presented to the council said.
The inclusion of the three areas as “potential” constraints to wind energy development in the overall area where turbines are allowed, which is the part of Offaly south of Cloghan and in the environs of Birr, was proposed by Cllr Mark Hackett, Green Party, and seconded by Cllr John Leahy, Independent. When Cllr Peter Ormond, Fianna Fail, sought clarification on which parts of the Little Brosna would be included, Mr Condron said it was the callows area and he could furnish the councillor with a map. “It’s a habitat and foraging area for those birds,” said Mr Condron.
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