No planning permission needed for Star Wars set

Beehive huts being built for the new Star Wars movie.

No planning permission was required for the current construction of a new Star Wars film set on the cliff edge of a protected headland in Kerry, the county council had determined.

Fullsize Skellig Michael replica beehive huts and a temporary roadway, along with the resurfacing of an existing pathway to facilitate the filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII are being built on the headland at Ceann Sibéal near Ballyferriter.

A significant slice of the headland is being taken up by the film set in what is an area of special protection for a bird species. Helicopters will also be operating near the cliff face during the breeding season.

Permits for a project to begin filming on privately-owned land on Ceann Sibéal on the mainland on the Dingle peninsula had been granted by the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, after the promoters followed established processes through the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the council said.

The headland is considered one of the best areas for the cliff nesting Chough in the country.

Regarded as a member of the crown family, Choughs have iridescent black plumage and striking red beak and legs. Ireland has the most westerly population of the cliff nesting choughs in Europe, and the Dingle peninsula, with 119 breeding pairs, is a stronghold.

Skellig Michael
Skellig Michael

The short film shoot next month on the cliff edges, mostly in the western half of Ceann Sibéal, will take place during the breeding season, but will not adversely interfere with them, according to an ecological assessment for the department.

To limit interference, crew and personnel movement will be capped at peak numbers of 100 people in the designated conservation area and restricted to the replica village or its base.

The filming, over a week- long period, is to be strictly controlled with camera helicopters flying at a minimum distance of 100m from the headland in the vicinity of the beehive huts and restricted to three days.

Filming is to take place during daylight and at sunset on occasion, according to the criteria laid down by the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht. Department representatives will be on site.

Further protection measures will be applied if adverse reactions by the breeding birds are observed.

Two kilometres of temporary trackway are being laid, and a number of full-sized replica beehive huts constructed on the cliff edge in works that began some weeks ago. The site is under tight security.

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