LOCAL authorities in the mid-west are ‘aflutter’ over state plans to designate the entire lower Shannon estuary a special protected area for birds such as the black-tailed godwit and redshank.
Clare County Council, Limerick County Council and the Midwest Regional Authority believe that the blanket designation for the birds will block further big industry locating on the estuary.
The estuary is already home to the largest coal-burning station in the country at Moneypoint and the alumina refinery at Aughinish Alumina.
Yesterday, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht confirmed that it has received 124 objections to its contentious plan to designate the lower Shannon estuary a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds.
Leading the opposition against the proposed designation of 32,260 hectares is semi-state Shannon Foynes Port Company and Clare County Council, along with landowners affected by the designation.
Limerick Co Council and the Midwest Regional Authority have also expressed concerns over the proposed designation.
According to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the River Shannon and Fergus estuaries SPA site “regularly supports in excess of 50,000 wintering waterfowl, a concentration easily of international importance“.
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