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Natura Impact Statement
for Appropriate Assessment


Proposed Public Amenity Facility
Leabgarrow, Arranmore Island
Co Donegal








Report compiled by
Barbara McInerney
Wildonfoot ecological services
Carney
Co Sligo
Report prepared for
Arranmore Co-operative
Comharchumann Oilen rainn Mhir
Noirn Muldowney
Arranmore Island,
Co Donegal
wildonfoot@gmail.com
+353-86-8690222
comharchumann@oileanarainnmhoir.com
+353-74-9520533/0876228348
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Location of the Proposed Public Amenity Facility, Leabgarrow, Arranmore
Island, Co Donegal







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Contents

Summary .............................................................................................................................. 5
Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 6
Background ....................................................................................................................... 6
Legislative context ............................................................................................................. 6
Methodology ...................................................................................................................... 6
Stages of Appropriate Assessment .................................................................................... 7
1. Screening....................................................................................................................... 9
1.1 Management of Natura 2000 Site ........................................................................... 9
1.2 Description of project .............................................................................................. 9
1.2.1 Purpose of the Project ..................................................................................... 9
1.2.2 Characteristics of the Site and Features of the Proposal ................................ 10
1.2.3 Construction, Time, Personnel and Machinery requirements ......................... 10
1.2.4 Access ........................................................................................................... 10
1.2.5 Construction Materials ................................................................................... 10
1.2.6 Land Take ...................................................................................................... 10
1.2.7 Waste Management & Ecological Enhancement Measures ........................... 10
1.3 Identification of Natura 2000 sites potentially affected ........................................... 11
1.4 Assessment of significance of impacts .................................................................. 12
1.4.1 Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283 ............................................................. 12
1.4.2 Gweedore Bay and Islands SAC 001141 ....................................................... 15
1.4.3 Aran Island (Donegal) Cliffs SAC 000111 ...................................................... 15
1.4.4 Illancrone and Inishkeeragh SPA 004132 ...................................................... 16
1.4.5 West Donegal Coast SPA 004150 ................................................................. 16
1.4.6 Site Name: Termon Strand SAC 001195 ....................................................... 16
1.4.7 Conclusion for assessment of significance ..................................................... 16
1.5 Conclusion of screening stage .............................................................................. 17
2 Appropriate Assessment .............................................................................................. 19
2.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 19
2.2 Description of the Proposed Development and Area ............................................. 19
2.2.1 Purpose of the project .................................................................................... 19
2.2.2 Features of the Proposal ................................................................................ 19
2.2.3 Features of the Area ...................................................................................... 19
2.2.4 Features of the Project Site ............................................................................ 19
2.3 Characteristics of Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283 ....................................... 23
2.3.1 Management Plans ........................................................................................ 23
2.3.2 Site Description .............................................................................................. 23
2.4 Potential significant impacts on conservation objectives ....................................... 28
2.4.1 Description of Habitats: .................................................................................. 28
2.4.2 Loss of Habitats - Annex habitats and Qualifying Interests............................. 28
2.4.3 Alteration of Habitats ...................................................................................... 28
2.4.4 Disturbance and/or displacement of protected fauna Harbour Seals ........... 29
2.4.5 Impairment of water quality ............................................................................ 29
2.4.6 Waste production ........................................................................................... 30
2.5 Summary of Appropriate Assessment Stage ......................................................... 32
3 Cumulative Impacts ..................................................................................................... 33
3.1 Other developments within the area ...................................................................... 33
3.2 Road network/Sea wall ......................................................................................... 33
3.3 National, regional and local strategic planning documents .................................... 34
4 Mitigation & Recommendations .................................................................................... 35
4.1 Mitigation .............................................................................................................. 35
4.2 Recommendations ................................................................................................ 35
Conclusions ........................................................................................................................ 36
Appendices ......................................................................................................................... 37
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Appendix 1 ...................................................................................................................... 38
Appendix 2 ...................................................................................................................... 39
Appendix 3 ...................................................................................................................... 41
References ...................................................................................................................... 45

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Summary

Exposed, sloping site on Arranmore Islands East coast, for proposed development of public
amenity/ promenade.

The screening phase identified 6 Natura 2000 designated sites nearby. Five of these
conservation sites were screened out, with the development having no impact on them:
Gweedore Bay and Islands SAC, Aran Island (Donegal) Cliffs SAC, Illancrone and
Inishkeeragh SPA, Termon Strand SAC, West Donegal Coast SPA.

One Natura 2000 site carried on to appropriate assessment stage or Natura Impact
Assassment (NIS): Rutland Island and sound SAC Site Code: 002283. The location of the
proposed development is on the edge of the SAC.

Rutland Island and Sound is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) selected for the habitats
and/or species listed on Annex I / II of the E.U. Habitats Directive, and the following were
identified as being present in the vicinity of the proposed development:

Large shallow inlets and bays (beside development)
Reefs (near, but sub tidal)
Common or harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) (occasionally seen in water near beach)

The main issues are:
The proposed development is not within the SAC and no Annex I habitats will be lost
as a direct result of the project.
Rock armouring along the shoreline is already in place and will not be altered.
Two habitats were identified as being potentially impacted - shallow inlets & bays,
and reefs.
One species was identified as potentially impacted harbour seals, but the
disturbance would not be significant.
Standard mitigation measures can control against the potential risks, which are
indirect, from sources such as waste and pollution.
Invasive Species including Japanese Knotweed on the development site are of
concern and will be treated in an approved manner.
An area of semi natural coastal marram grassland on site will be conserved.





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Introduction

Background

This Statement for Appropriate Assessment (AA) has been prepared by an independent
ecologist Barbara McInerney,(Biologist, hDip Field Ecology) to determine the potential
impacts, if any, of the proposed development of a Proposed Public Amenity Facility,
Leabgarrow, Arranmore Island, Co Donegal, on nearby Sites with European conservation
designations (Natura 2000 Sites).
Arranmore, or Aran Island, is an island situated about 4 km west of Burtonport in Co.
Donegal. The purpose of this assessment is to determine the potential influence of the
proposed project in the context of the conservation status of those sites.

Legislative context

The legislative context of the requirement to undertake AA is outlined in this section. See
Appendix 5 for detailed legislative background.

The European Community (Natural Habitats) Regulations, updated in 2005, consolidates the
main nature conservation legislation enacted in Ireland, including The Wildlife Act, The
Habitats Directive, and the Birds Directive. The Birds Directive seeks to protect birds of
special importance by the designation of Special Protection Areas (SPAs). The Habitats
Directive does the same for habitats and other species groups, with Special Areas of
Conservation (SACs) designating habitats (Annex I) and species (Annex II) whose
conservation is of community interest. Collectively, SPAs and SACs are known as Natura
2000 Sites.

An Appropriate Assessment is required under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive where a
project or plan may give rise to significant effects upon a Natura 2000 Site. A proposed plan
or project is sanctioned only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the
integrity of the site concerned and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the
general public.

If, in spite of a negative assessment of the impacts on a Conservation Site and in the
absence of alternative solutions, a project might be approved for imperative reasons of
overriding public interest. However, where the site hosts a priority habitat and/or a priority
species, the only considerations are those relating to human health or public safety, to
beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment or to other imperative
reasons of overriding public interest.

The current assessment was conducted within this legislative framework and with regard to
the DoEHLG (2009) guidelines. As outlined in these, it is the responsibility of the proponent
of the project (in this case the Arranmore Cooperative) to provide a comprehensive and
objective Statement for Appropriate Assessment (also referred to as a Natura Impact
Statement, NIS), which can then be used by the competent authority in order to conduct the
Appropriate Assessment (DoEHLG, 2009).

Methodology

A desktop review was carried out to identify features of ecological importance within the
project area and surrounding region. Along with a desk-base study, a site visit was
undertaken in May 2014 to:
Provide further ecological information for the area.
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Pin-point where some of the knowledge gaps exist.

Stages of Appropriate Assessment

This Appropriate Assessment (AA) has been undertaken in accordance with the European
Commission Methodological Guidance on the provision of Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the
Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC (EC, 2002) and the European Commission Guidance
Managing Natura 2000 Sites (EC, 2000).
In complying with the obligations under Article 6(3) and following the above guidance, this
AA has been structured in two stages, each comprising a number of steps, as follows:

Stage 1) Screening Stage - presented in Section 1 of this report:
1. Establishes whether the project is necessary to the management of a Natura 2000
site;
2. Provides a description of the project;
3. Identifies Natura 2000 Sites potentially affected;
4. Identifies and describes individual and cumulative impacts likely to result from the
Project; and
5. Assesses the significance of the impacts identified above on site integrity. Excludes
sites where it can be objectively concluded that there will be no significant effects.
Proceeds to Stage 2 for sites that may be potentially affected.

Stage 2) Appropriate Assessment - presented in Sections 2-4 of this report:
1. Describes the character and conservation objectives of Natura 2000 Sites that will be
considered further in the AA;
2. Identifies aspects of the project that could affect Natura 2000 Sites;
3. Assesses the significance of the potential impacts on the conservation objectives of
these Sites; and
4. Proposes mitigation measures to reduce the significance of identified impacts.

The Habitats Directive promotes a hierarchy of avoidance, mitigation and compensatory
measures. First the project should aim to avoid any negative impacts on European Sites by
identifying possible impacts early in the planning stage, and designing the project in order to
avoid such impacts. Second, mitigation measures should be applied, if necessary, during the
AA process, to the point where no adverse impacts on the Site(s) remain.

If the project is still likely to result in adverse effects, and no further practicable mitigation is
possible, a refusal for planning permission may be recommended. In this case, the project
will generally only be considered where no alternative solutions are identified (Stage 3) and
the project is required for imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI test), or, in
the case of priority habitats, considerations of health or safety, or beneficial consequences of
primary importance for the environment or to other imperative reasons of overriding public
interest. Then compensation measures (Stage 4) are required for any remaining adverse
effect.

This report covers stage 1, Screening, and stage 2, Appropriate Assessment.



Stage 1
Screening


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1. Screening

This stage examines whether or not there is potential for significant effects upon a Natura 2000 Site (i.e.
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and/or Special Protected Areas (SPA). The first step in the
screening process is to determine whether the project is directly connected with or necessary to the
management of a Natura 2000 Site.

The next steps of the screening process are to describe the elements of the project and describe the
characteristics of the Natura Site(s) before assessing the potential for significant impacts of the project
on a Natura 2000 Site(s). The steps outlined in the introduction are presented here in the screening
stage.

1.1 Management of Natura 2000 Site

Is the project directly connected with or necessary to the management of a Natura 2000 site?
No. The proposed development is not considered as directly connected with or necessary to the
management of a Natura 2000 site.

1.2 Description of project

1.2.1 Purpose of the Project

The project is a Public Amenity Facility proposal, alongside the beach at Leabgarrow, Arranmore Island,
Co Donegal. Arranmore, or Aran Island, is an island (approx. 18 km
2
) situated about 4 km west of
Burtonport in Co. Donegal. An objective of the Arranmore Development Plan 2008 2013 under the
theme of Tourism, is to facilitate the development of the Leabgarrow promenade with tourist amenities.
The proposed development has a coastal and rural location along part of the eastern edge of the island,
facing the Rutland Sound and the mainland. Fig 1 shows the location of the proposed development.

Fig. 1. View of the Proposed Development site at the southern end of Leabgarrow Beach, looking west.


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1.2.2 Characteristics of the Site and Features of the Proposal

The project is a proposed development of a public amenity, overlooking the southern end of Leabgarrow
Beach, adjacent to the road and two schools. It is an exposed, sloping site, facing North West and
facing the beach, separated from the beach by a line of existing armoury consisting of large granite
rocks. There is a stream piped under the centre of the site, emerging at the beach. Currently the site is a
mixed area of poor habitats, including waste ground, spoil dumping, car parking and invasive species,
with a small area of semi-natural coastal vegetation in the south east corner of the development site.
See Fig 1.

1.2.3 Construction, Time, Personnel and Machinery requirements

The proposal has an approximately 6 month construction period. There could be 15 to 20 personnel on
site at peak times. There will be general construction machinery such as JCB's, Hymac diggers and
dumpers.

1.2.4 Access

Construction access onto beach will be kept to a minimum. There are three public access points shown
on the plans. Construction access, if necessary, will be kept to the point with the lowest impact, away
from the stream in the centre. Access from the east side of the proposed development will be avoided,
in order to conserve one of the few parts of semi natural value habitat at the site. Public beach access
is proposed at three points from the finished amenity.

1.2.5 Construction Materials

Construction materials will consist of concrete, paving slabs, tarmac, gravel, timber, glass, sand, safety
rubber tiles, galvanised steel, tensile fabric material, photovoltaic panels and low voltage lighting with
cables, sound ducts, surface water drainage, grass.

1.2.6 Land Take

Originally there was a proposal for some re-alignment of the rock armoury along the beach, which marks
the boundary of the Rutland Island and Sound Special Area of Conservation (SAC) (002283). However,
to minimise impact to the protected site, it was decided to keep the existing boundary, thus the land take
of the Natura 2000 site will be zero.

1.2.7 Waste Management & Ecological Enhancement Measures

There is already significant amounts of waste on the beach and adjoining area, mostly plastic waste from
fishing and agriculture, blown in from the sea. There is one existing litter bin, which was overflowing,
and thus encouraging further litter and dumping.

There will be two potential sources of waste from the proposed development:

1. Waste produced during construction, including soil and spoil from construction.
There will be a waste management plan for the construction phase. Waste soil disposal will be of
critical importance at this site, due to the presence of a number of invasive alien plant species currently
on site. All soil will be treated as a carrier of invasive weed seeds and vegetative parts, and
contained within the existing site. It is anticipated that there will be no removal of soil from the site, and
any moved soil is to be reused for forming the grassy terraced area at the south east corner.

Japanese Knotweed is of particular concern at this site, as this plant has the ability spread, dominating a
habitat and reducing biodiversity. This will be dealt with further in section 2.4.6.

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All waste production will kept in a minimum and all waste will be removed from the site, for correct
disposal in a licensed waste facility. Surplus building materials will be removed and recycled.


2. Post construction - Litter from users of the public amenity

There are two options with this waste. The first is to have plenty of litter bins which are maintained and
emptied regularly by a licensed waste collection company. Failing that, the second option is to not have
any bins if they cannot be regularly emptied.


1.3 Identification of Natura 2000 sites potentially affected

In accordance with the European Commission Methodological Guidance (EC 2001), a list of Natura 2000
Sites that can be potentially affected by the project must be compiled. Adopting the precautionary
principle in identifying these sites, it has been decided to include all SACs, SPAs and Ramsar sites
within a 10 km radius of the proposed development. Table 1 lists the Natura 2000 Sites that occur within
10 km of the proposed development, and figure 2 shows a map.


Table 1. List of sites designated for nature conservation located within 10 km of the proposed Public
Amenity Facility alongside the beach at Leabgarrow, Arranmore Island, Co Donegal.

Site Name
Site
Code
Location relative to
proposed development
Stage of AA taken into
Consideration:
International designations
RAMSAR sites

None
European designations
Special Conservation
Areas (SAC)


Rutland Island and Sound 002283 Along edge of development Appropriate Assessment/NIS
Gweedore Bay and Islands 001141 3.5 km to the east Screened out
Aran Island (Donegal) Cliffs 00111 3.7 km to the west Screened out
Termon Strand SAC 001195 6.3 km to the south Screened out

Special Protection Areas
(SPA)


Illancrone and Inishkeeragh 004132 2.5 km to the south Screened out
West Donegal Coast 004150 3.7 km to the west Screened out




The potential impacts of the proposed development on Natura 2000 Sites in the area were examined in
the context of the following:
1. Loss of Habitats
2. Alteration of habitats
3. Disturbance and/or displacement of protected flora and fauna
4. Impairment of water quality
5. Waste production


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Fig 2. Map of Natura 2000 Sites within a 10km radius of the development site.





1.4 Assessment of significance of impacts

This section considers the Natura 2000 Sites listed in Table 1 in more detail. The risk of impact on these
sites is examined in the following sections. If it is determined that the project would not adversely affect
the integrity of the site, then this site is excluded from further assessment.

1.4.1 Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283
- adjoining proposed development site

Rutland Island and Sound SAC lies between Aran Island and Burtonport in north-west Donegal, 5 km
north-west of Dungloe, see Fig 3. Besides Rutland itself a number of other small rocky islets are also
included in the site. The bedrock of Rutland Island is granite, but the dune systems on the island are
highly calcareous. This SAC overlaps with Illancrone and Inishkeeragh SPA (004132) and adjoins
Gweedore Bay and Islands SAC (001141). The conservation objectives for these sites are considered in
conjunction with those for overlapping and adjacent sites.

The site is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) selected for the habitats and/or species listed on
Annex I / II of the E.U. Habitats Directive, detailed in Table 2.


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Table 2. Qualifying interests of the Rutland Island and Sound SAC that are present in the area near
the proposed development

Qualifying interests of the Rutland Island and
Sound SAC 002283
Occurrence at
proposed
development
Coastal lagoons* [1150] -
Large shallow inlets and bays [1160] Beside
Reefs [1170] Near, but sub tidal
Annual vegetation of drift lines [1210] -
Common seal (Phoca vitulina) [1365] Occasionally seen
Embryonic shifting dunes [2110] -
Shifting dunes along the shoreline with
marram grass (white dunes) [2120]
-
Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous
vegetation (grey dunes)* [2130]
-
Humid dune slacks [2190] -
(Numbers in brackets are Natura 2000 codes, * = priority habitat)


Habitats

Due to the proximity of the development to this SAC, the habitats of Large shallow inlets and bays, and
Reefs have the potential to be affected. Construction and ongoing use of the site could potentially result
in loss or alteration of habitats. There is also potential for waste production and water quality
impairment. Thus the habitats and potential impacts will be considered further in the appropriate
assessment section.


Species

Due to the proximity of the development to this SAC, the species Common or Harbour Seal has the
potential to be affected. There may be disturbance to the species during construction or in the ongoing
use of the development site. Thus, common seals and the potential impacts will be considered further in
the appropriate assessment section.

In summary, as this SAC is adjacent to the development site and the development has potential to have
an impact on the site, this SAC, Rutland Island and Sound, will be considered in further detail in the
Appropriate Assessment stage, section 2.3.
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Fig 3. Location of Proposed Development - Public Amenity Space on Arranmore Island, Co Donegal, at
the edge of Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283. Area of red hatched lines shows SAC.


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1.4.2 Gweedore Bay and Islands SAC 001141
- 3.5 km to the east

Gweedore Bay and Islands is an extensive coastal site situated between near Burtonport in the south
and Bloody Foreland in the north. It includes a large stretch of coastline, many islands and areas of
marine water between the islands and the coast.

The site is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) selected for the following habitats and/or species listed
on Annex I / II of the E.U. Habitats Directive (*=priority habitat): Coastal Lagoons*, Reefs, Perennial
Vegetation of Stony Banks, Mediterranean Salt Meadows, Embryonic Shifting Dunes, Marram Dunes
(White Dunes), Fixed Dunes (Grey Dunes)*, Decalcified Empetrum Dunes*, Decalcified Dune Heath*,
Dunes with Creeping Willow, Humid Dune Slacks, Machairs*, Oligotrophic Waters containing very few
minerals, Dry Heath, Alpine and Subalpine Heaths, Juniper Scrub, Otter, Petalwort, Slender Naiad.
Several of the bird species that use the site are listed on Annex I of the E.U. Birds Directive, i.e. Barnacle
Goose, Chough, Great Northern Diver, Storm Petrel and the tern species.

The site is of high ecological value for the occurrence of a wide range of coastal habitats, including areas
of well-developed machair, sand dunes and shingle banks. It contains sixteen habitats that are listed,
five with priority status, on Annex I of the E.U. Habitats Directive and, as such, is of considerable
conservation significance. The presence of populations of three E.U. Habitats Directive Annex II species
and of several E.U. Birds Directive Annex I species adds significantly to the overall importance of the
site.

However, the site of the proposed development is 3.5 km from Gweedore Bay and Islands SAC, and as
the potential disturbance factors from the proposed development are very localised, no adverse effects
are anticipated for this SAC. There will be no loss or alteration of habitats, disturbance and/or
displacement of protected flora and fauna, impairment of water quality or waste production affecting the
protected site. Choughs and other birds from the site could forage and hunt over the area at
Leabgarrow, but no impacts are anticipated. Thus the Gweedore Bay and Islands SAC [1141] can be
screened out of further investigation.


1.4.3 Aran Island (Donegal) Cliffs SAC 000111
- 3.7 km to the west

Aran Island Cliffs SAC encompasses the rocky sea cliffs which form the north and west, and part of the
south coasts of the island. The cliffs, which rise to 150m, are exposed, precipitous and continuous.
The site is important for the presence of good examples of exposed western cliffs and associated
habitats. The higher cliff vegetation merges into alpine and dry heath, which are also found along the top
of the cliffs, interspersed with rocks and wet flush areas. The site is of ornithological importance for a
number of bird species, including two which are listed under Annex I of the E.U. Birds Directive -
Peregrine and Chough. The Chough population, with 13 breeding pairs, is one of the largest
concentrations in this region. The cliffs also have nesting seabirds. In addition, the site provides the only
known location for an endemic plant, the very rare Harts Saxifrage (Saxifraga hartii).

The site of the proposed development is 3.7 km from the nearest part of Aran Island (Donegal) Cliffs
SAC, and as the potential disturbance factors from the proposed development are very localised, no
adverse effects are anticipated for this SAC. Choughs and Peregrines could forage and hunt over the
area at Leabgarrow, but no impacts are anticipated. There will be no loss or alteration of habitats,
disturbance and/or displacement of protected flora and fauna, impairment of water quality or waste
production affecting the protected site. Thus the Aran Island (Donegal) Cliffs SAC [111] can be
screened out of further investigation.


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1.4.4 Illancrone and Inishkeeragh SPA 004132
- 2.5 km to the south

This site is a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the E.U. Birds Directive. These two islands are
situated 1 to 3 km south of Arranmore Island. Illancrone comprises areas of rock, shingle and short
grassland. Inishkeeragh is a medium-sized, low-lying marine island surrounded by extensive intertidal
rocks. The land is unimproved dry grassland grazed by sheep.

Both islands are particularly important as breeding and wintering sites for seabirds. Special Conservation
Interests for this SPA, listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive, are wintering Barnacle Goose, and
breeding Common Tern, Arctic Tern and Little Tern.

While the birds may occasionally fly over the Leabgarrow beach area, no impacts would be anticipated
on these birds from the proposed development. There will be no loss or alteration of habitats,
disturbance and/or displacement of protected flora and fauna, impairment of water quality or waste
production affecting the protected site. Thus the Illancrone and Inishkeeragh SPA [4132] can be
screened out from further consideration.


1.4.5 West Donegal Coast SPA 004150
- 3.7 km to the west

The West Donegal Coast SPA is a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the E.U. Birds Directive, of
special conservation interest for the following breeding species: Chough, Peregrine, Fulmar, Cormorant,
Shag, Herring Gull, Kittiwake and Razorbill. Vegetated sea cliffs are the predominant habitat of the site,
the cliff tops supporting heath, blanket bog or coastal grassland. The site partially overlaps with the Aran
Island (Donegal) Cliffs SAC detailed above.

The Conservation Objective, to maintain or restore the favourable conservation condition of the bird
species listed for the site, is not likely to be affected by the proposed development. There will be no loss
or alteration of habitats, disturbance and/or displacement of protected flora and fauna, impairment of
water quality or waste production affecting the protected site. Thus, the West Donegal Coast SPA
[4150] can be screened out of further consideration.



1.4.6 Site Name: Termon Strand SAC 001195
- 6.3 km to the south

This small coastal site is situated around the village of Maghery, about 5 km south-west of Dunglow in
west Co. Donegal. It contains a coastal lagoon, sand dunes, wet grassland, mudflats and saltmarsh.
The site is a Special Area of Conservation selected for the priority habitat coastal lagoons.

There is a Conservation Plan for the SAC, (Dept. of Environment, Heritage and Local Government,
2005). The main Conservation Objective, to maintain or restore the favourable conservation condition of
the coastal lagoon annex and priority habitat, is not likely to be affected by the proposed development.
There is no ecological connection with the site of the proposed development and the SAC. There will be
no loss or alteration of habitats affecting the protected site due to the development. Thus, Termon
Strand SAC [001195] can be screened out of further consideration.


1.4.7 Conclusion for assessment of significance

In concluding the above assessments of significance, it has been shown that the Gweedore Bay and
Islands SAC, Aran Island (Donegal) Cliffs SAC, Illancrone and Inishkeeragh SPA, West Donegal Coast
SPA will not be significantly affected by the proposed development and therefore these sites are not
considered further.
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However, due to the proximity, the proposed project could potentially have impacts on the Natura 2000
site, the Rutland Island and Sound SAC, at Leabgarrow Beach. This Natura site is thus carried forward
to Stage 2, Appropriate Assessment.


1.5 Conclusion of screening stage

In order to determine the potential impacts, if any, of the proposed development on nearby Natura 2000
sites, a screening process for AA was undertaken. The proposed development is beside one Natura
2000 site, and within 10km of four other Natura 2000 sites. It has been determined during the screening
process that these four sites will not be impacted by the project.

Part of the proposed development falls beside the Rutland Island and Sound SAC and therefore there is
potential that the SAC may be impacted by the development. Construction works causing alteration of
habitat may have a direct impact, on the protected habitats of large shallow inlets and bays and reefs,
and may cause disturbance to protected common or harbour seals.

Hence, the recommendation of the screening process is to proceed to Stage 2, Appropriate Assessment,
for the Natura 2000 site: Rutland Island and Sound SAC [Site code 2283].

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Stage 2


Appropriate Assessment


Natura Impact Statement
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2 Appropriate Assessment

2.1 Introduction

The main objective of Stage 2 of the Appropriate Assessment process, titled Natura Impact Statement
or NIS, is to consider the impact of the proposed development in detail on the integrity of any affected
Natura 2000 site, with respect to the conservation objectives, and to identify and assess mitigation
measures against any adverse effects the project is likely to cause. The majority of the Natura sites that
could potentially be impacted were screened out in the screening stage. However, the Rutland Island
and Sound SAC lies along the edge of the proposed development site and will be considered here in
more detail, and the potential impact of the proposed public amenity will be assessed in this section.

2.2 Description of the Proposed Development and Area

2.2.1 Purpose of the project

The project is the proposed development of a public amenity, along the southern end of Leabgarrow
Beach, adjacent to the road and two schools. It is a sloping site, facing North West and the beach. At
the upper, east side near the schools is the main space which is a general public space. It has a central
feature which is part covered with seating. There will be some information displays on history,
geography, wildlife and culture of the local area. The space is large enough to be used as a
performance space by the schools. It is proposed that the grass areas at the rear south side will be
terraced to overlook this space. Activities and use during the summer holiday period for cultural, music,
theatre, etc will be encouraged. In the centre there is a children's play area and at the end nearest the
ferry an extension to the existing car park is proposed. There are some access points to the beach
proposed.

2.2.2 Features of the Proposal

1 Public amenity, adjacent to the Rutland Island and Sound SAC.
2 Seating area/Play area/ Performance Space
3 Information/Interpretation Panel
4 Small existing car parking area above beach behind sea wall


2.2.3 Features of the Area

The proposed public amenity space is situated at the southern end of Leabgarrow Beach. Leabgarrow
Beach is the main beach of Arranmore Island, situated along the main access road to the port, along
many of the island main facilities, schools, shop, pub and accommodation, and just to the south of the
ferry slipway. It is surrounded mostly by human development, such as concrete sea walls and rock
armoury, but has a small area at the south-eastern tip of natural shoreline with rock outcrops.


2.2.4 Features of the Project Site

There are two main parts of the site. The main one is a mosaic of mostly damaged habitats, including
bare ground, ruderal and common weeds on grassy patches, dumped infill containing invasive weeds
and car parking areas. The second, smaller part consists mainly of natural coastal grassy vegetation at
the east of the site, see area M of the Habitat Map, Fig 4. This contains some natural dune species, and
this area should be conserved and some interpretation of the wild species should be provided to educate
the public using the amenity space of its value.
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Fig 4. Habitat Map of Development Site


Habitat Map - Key
M Marram grass dominated Dumped soil/spoil
BG Bare Ground & Spoil Dumping
I Invasives Break of Slope
G Grass dominated
R Ruderal dominated Rock Armoury
S Scrub


I G R S
Invasives/Escapes Grass dominated Ruderal, grass and herb dominated Scrub
Japanese Knotweed
Montbretia
Fuchsia
Himalayan Knotweed
Daffodil
Hebe
Geranium

Grasses
Common Sorrel
Plantain
Knapweed
Hogweed
Meadowsweet
Angelica
Mosses
Grasses Cocks foot, Rye grass
Plantain
Silverweed
Birds Foot Trefoil
R & W Clover
Dandelion
Dock
Medick
Ragwort
Horsetail

Willow
Gorse
Bramble
Wild Rose






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The site contains the habitats and features listed in Table 3.

Table 3. Habitats and Features in the Proposed Development Site at Leabgarrow

Habitat/ feature
Fossitt Habitat Codes/types if applicable
(Fossitt, 2000)
Road side parking areas ED2 Spoil and bare ground
Rubble/ stone piles, in-filled soil ED2 Spoil and bare ground
Hard core areas ED3 Re-colonising bare ground
Parked cars, trailer, an old boat, building waste ED5 Refuse and other waste
Drainage ditches (road drains & land drains) FW4 Drainage ditches
Rock and stone armoury along back of beach CC Coastal Constructions
Invasive plant species
Semi natural coastal grassland


A field visit was carried out on the 21
st
and 22
nd
May 2014 to the proposed amenity area site at
Leabgarrow. A site survey was carried out, including a vegetation survey and habitat mapping. The
following flora species were noted in the site and along the back of the shore, many of which are
common weed species indicating a high degree of habitat damage, with negative indicator species such
as nettles (Urtica dioica) indicating some increased nutrient input. Some species are typical of coastal
grassland habitats, especially the area on the east side of the site. Most notable is the significant
number of invasive species present in the site.

Table 4. Vegetation Survey of the Proposed Development Site at Leabgarrow. * Note that four species
of invasive plants occur indicated with an asterisk.

Vegetation List on the Site at Leabgarrow
Angelica, Wild Angelica sylvestris Horsetail, Common Equisetum arvense
Bird's-foot Trefoil, Common Lotus corniculatus Horsetail, Wood Equisetum sylvaticum
Bitter-cress, Hairy Cardamine hirsuta Knapweed, Common Centaurea nigra
Black medick Medicago lupulina Madder, Field Sherardia arvensis
Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta Male fern Dryopteris filix-mas
Bracken Pteridium aquilinum Marram grass Ammophila arenaria
Bramble Rubus fructicosus Meadow Fox-tail grass Alopecurus pratensis
Broad leafed dock Rumex obtusifolius Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria
Buttercup, Creeping Ranunculus repens Mouse-ear, Common Cerastium fontanum
Carrot, Wild Daucus carota Nettle, Common Urtica dioica
Charlock Sinapis arvensis Perennial Rye-grass Lolium perenne
Cleavers Galium aparine Pimpernel, Scarlet Anagallis arvensis
Clover, Red Trifolium pratense Plantain, Ribwort Plantago lanceolata
Clover, White Trifolium repens Primrose Primula vulgaris
Cocksfoot grass Dactylis glomerata Ragwort, Common Senecio jacobaea
Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris x Redshank Persicaria maculosa
Comfrey, Common Symphytum officinale Reed, Common Phragmites australis
Daisy, Oxeye Leucanthemum vulgare Sedge Carex spp
Dandelion Taraxacum vulgaria Silverweed Potentilla anserina
Dead-nettle, Red Lamium purpureum Sorrel, Common Rumex acetosa
Fat-hen Chenopodium album Sow thistle, Smooth Sonchus oleraceus
Gorse Ulex europaeus Spurge, Sea Euphorbia paralias
Grass Vetchling Lathyrus nissoia Thrift Armeria maritima
Hawk's-beard, Smooth Crepis capillaris Vetch, Common Vicia sativa
Hawkweed Hiercium spp. Wild rose Rosa spp
Henbane Hyoscyamus niger Willow spp. Salix spp
Herb-Robert Geranium robertianum Yorkshire Fog grass Holcus lanatus
continued
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Invasive Plant Species*/Garden Escapes
Japanese Knotweed* Fallopia japonica and hybrids Daffodil Narcissus
Montbretia* Crocosmia crocosmiiflora French Pencilled Cranesbill Geranium endressii/versicolor
Himalayan balsam* Impatiens glandulifera Hebe Hebe spp
Heliotrope, Winter* Petasites fragrans Fuchsia Fuchsia magellanica


Bird Survey

A dawn and day bird survey was carried out and no bird species were noted on the site. A herring gull
on the beach and a peacock butterfly on the site was the only major sign of life! The bird species were
noted elsewhere on the island on the same day are listed in Table 5.

Table 5. Bird Species observed on Arranmore Island, 21st May 2014 (outside of Proposed Development
Site)

Bird Species observed on Arranmore Island, 21st May 2014
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Swallow Hirundo rustica
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis Common Gull Larus canus
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrellii
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Common Raven Corvus corax House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Corn Crake Crex crex Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
European Robin Erithacus rubecula Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Common Blackbird Turdus merula
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis



Bat Survey

A bat survey was carried out on the night of 21
st
May 2014, and no evidence of any bat activity, near, or
on the site, was found.

A dawn survey was also carried out and no travelling or swarming bats were noted over or close to the
site.


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2.3 Characteristics of Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283

2.3.1 Management Plans

There is no management plans published for the Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283. However NPWS
provides conservation objectives for the site at NPWS (npws.ie). Any impact which is likely to cause or
contribute to any of the qualifying habitats or species, valuable semi-natural habitats or notable species
not reaching or maintaining favourable conservation status would be regarded as in conflict with the
management of the sites.

2.3.2 Site Description

Rutland Island and Sound SAC is a large complex site which lies between Aran Island and Burtonport in
north-west Donegal, 5 km north-west of Dungloe. Besides Rutland Island itself a number of other small
rocky islets and a large marine area are also included in the site.

An extract from the site synopsis, NPWS, 2014, details the most relevant information:

Rutland Channel and Sound is a complex of shallow reefs and sediment communities
sheltered from wave action with varying degrees of current. The intertidal reefs are typical of
these conditions with high species richness in the tide-swept sublittoral fringe. The shallow
sublittoral reefs have excellent examples of tide-swept kelp communities with varying
degrees of sand scour in which species richness is high. A number of species considered to
be worthy of conservation occur, in particular, the sea squirt Stolonica socialis. The site
displays a range of sediment types from coarse shelly sand to fine sand. Beds of Eelgrass
(Zostera marina) which host the rare hydroid Laomedea angulata and the southern species
of burrowing anemone Anthopleura ballii are also present.

The site supports a population of Common (Harbour) Seal (maximum count of 202 in the all-
Ireland survey of 2003).

Rutland Island and Sound contains important examples of eight habitats listed on Annex I of
the E.U. Habitats Directive. The presence of a number of rare marine species adds further
to the conservation importance of the site.



2.3.2.1 Ecological features selected for Appropriate Assessment:


Rutland Island and Sound SAC is designated for the marine Annex I qualifying interests of Large
shallow inlets and bays and Reefs and the Annex II species Phoca vitulina (harbour seal, also known
as common seal). The Annex I habitat Large shallow inlets and bays is a large physiographic feature that
may wholly or partly incorporate other Annex I habitats including Reefs within its area.

After the screening stage above, the ecological features selected for Appropriate Assessment are the
following habitats of the Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283:

Large shallow inlets and bays (beside development)
Reefs (near development, but subtidal)
Common seal (Phoca vitulina) (occasionally seen in water near beach)

These habitats are not priority habitats. However, they are sensitive to a variety of changes and
vulnerable to a number of general threats, see Table 6 below.

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Table 6. Sensitivity and Potential Threats to Qualifying Interests of Rutland Island and Sound SAC.

Qualifying
Interest
Site Sensitivity Conser
vation
Status
General Threats Potential Threat
from proposed
development
Large
shallow
inlets and
bays
Surface, ground and
marine water dependent.
Sensitive to pollution.
Sensitive to changes in
salinity and tidal regime.
Good Coastal development,
water pollution by
enrichment from
agriculture, urban and
industrial sources,
dredging, over-fishing.
Indirect, from
pollution
Reefs Marine water dependent.
Sensitive to pollution.
Good Dredging, water pollution,
sedimentation, invasive
species, nutrient
enrichment.
Indirect, from
pollution
Common/
Harbour seal
Marine water dependent.
Sensitive to coastal
development, recreation
and gravel removal.
Good Disturbance or loss of
coastal habitats and haul
out sites, illegal hunting,
over-fishing.
Disturbance of
occasional seals in
water. No haul-out
sites near
proposed
development.

Fig. 5. Ecological community types within the habitat Shallow Inlets and Bays (Annex 1) in Rutland
Island and Sound SAC 2283



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Fig. 6. Reefs habitat (Annex 1) within Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283



The conservation objectives for the habitats and species of Rutland Island and Sound SAC are detailed
overleaf, from NPWS 2013.
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Table 7. Conservation Objectives of Qualifying Interests for Rutland Island and Sound SAC Site Code:
002283 (extracts from Version 1, NPWS, 2013)



..continued
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2.4 Potential significant impacts on conservation objectives


Due to the proximity of the development to this SAC, the habitats of Large shallow inlets and bays, and
Reefs have the potential to be affected. Construction and ongoing use of the site may result in alteration
of habitats. There is also potential for waste production and water quality impairment.

There is no direct land take, so the impacts would be indirect, from sources, such as pollution and run-off
during construction. The two annexed habitats will be considered together, as they are part of a
complex, and any indirect impacts would likely affect both habitats.

2.4.1 Description of Habitats:

Within Rutland Island and Sound SAC, five community types have been recorded. Their occurrence in
the Annex I habitats for which the site is designated are presented below. The first four types occur sub-
tidally within 500m of the proposed development.

The community types in Rutland Island and Sound SAC and their occurrence in the Annex I
habitats for which the site is designated.
Large shallow inlets and
bays (1160)
Reefs
(1170)
Sand with Tellina sp. and Perioculodes longimanus
community complex

Zostera-dominated community

Intertidal reef community
Laminaria-dominated community complex
Coarse sediment with crustaceans community
complex



Zostera-dominated communities are considered to be keystone communities that are of considerable
importance to the overall ecology and biodiversity of a habitat by virtue of their physical complexity, e.g.
they serve as important nursery grounds for commercial and non-commercial species.

Anthropogenic disturbance may be considered significant when it causes a change in biotic and/or
abiotic variables in excess of what could reasonably be envisaged under natural processes. The habitat
resilience, or capacity of the habitat to recover from this change is obviously an important consideration
thereafter (NPWS 2013).


2.4.2 Loss of Habitats - Annex habitats and Qualifying Interests

There will be no loss of habitats in the Rutland Island and Sound SAC (002283) due to the proposed
development.

2.4.3 Alteration of Habitats

During construction, if machinery is required to access the beach area, there would be the potential for
minor temporary alteration of the Sand with Tellina sp. and Perioculodes longimanus community
complex within the large shallow inlets and bays habitat. This will be short term and the habitat
resilience is such that it would recover in a short time. Mitigation measures will be used to ensure
minimal disturbance and ground protection mats will be in place if necessary to minimise compaction
and pollution. It is anticipated that integrity of the SAC will not be negatively impacted as a result of the
proposed development.

In Conclusion: While there is a small potential for slight alteration of the sand community, mitigation
measures will ensure that there will be no significant alteration of habitats in the Rutland Island and
Sound SAC (002283) due to the proposed development.
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2.4.4 Disturbance and/or displacement of protected fauna Harbour Seals

The other qualifying interest in the Rutland Sound SAC that may be affected by the proposed
development is the Common or Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina). Due to the proximity of the development
to this SAC, there may be potential for disturbance to the species during construction or in the ongoing
use of the development site.

Harbour seals are vulnerable to disturbance during times spent ashore or in shallow waters. These are
generally around the pupping and mating time of May to July, and in the moulting period during August
and September. These are principally spent in regular haul out locations. Suitable habitat and known
haul out locations are shown (NPWS 2013) in Fig 7.

As displayed, all the known haul-out
sites are over 3 kilometres away
from the proposed development, on
the other side of Rutland Island and
at the southern end of Rutland
Sound. Occasional sightings of
seals in the water were reported by
local residents at Leabgarrow
beach, however, they do not haul
out at this location.

Construction of the proposed
amenity space may have slight,
temporary, much localised impact
on seals in the water passing
through the area, however this will
be no more than the disturbance
they have habituated to from the
regular ferry crossings and landings
500m north of the site. Care will be
taken to ensure that the proposed
development does not introduce
man-made energy (e.g. aerial or
underwater noise, light or thermal
energy) at levels that could result in
a significant negative impact on
harbour seal within the site (NPWS
2013). Lighting levels will be kept to
a minimum both during and after
construction, to ensure no
disturbance to the seals, as well as
minimising general light pollution.

In Conclusion: There will be no significant disturbance or displacement of common (harbour) seals in the
Rutland Island and Sound SAC (002283) due to the proposed development.

2.4.5 Impairment of water quality

There is a risk that water quality in the area may temporarily be impaired during the construction
phase of the development.
Control measures will be in place to limit this risk.

Due to construction works, there is the potential for the water quality of Rutland Island and Sound SAC
to be slightly affected. Any impairment of water quality from the development could impact on the sub


Fig. 7. Location of Harbour Seal haul out, breeding and
moulting sites in Rutland Island and Sound SAC 2283

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tidal communities such as the Zostera beds and the reef communities. There is a stream outlet piped
under the middle of the site and emerging at the rock armoury onto the beach. There is the potential for
pollutants spilled (e.g. fuel) or produced (e.g. cement in waste water) during the construction phase of
the proposed development to enter the SAC due to its close proximity to the site. Aquatic flora and fauna
associated with the water-body could be adversely affected due to a decrease in water quality. However,
mitigation measures will ensure that pollution is avoided, by placing appropriate bunding and barriers to
contain any spillages.

There is the potential for fuel or other chemicals associated with construction to enter the soil during
construction works due to accidental spills; e.g. refuelling of machinery within the site. Appropriate
storage and use of potential pollutants will significantly reduce the risk of accidental spillage. Immediate
corrective action will be taken in the event of spillage to ensure that any contamination is contained.

Careful consideration is critical to ensure that no spillages occur, appropriate bunding will be used on
site to contain accidental spillages, and machinery must be kept away from the beach, sea and drainage
channel to minimise oil and fuel spillage. Design will ensure that run off from the development, post-
construction, should not have direct drainage access into this stream, but will be filtered through the soil
on site.

In conclusion: While there is a risk of accidental spillages of contaminants affecting water quality in the
area of the proposed development, mitigation and design measures will ensure that this will not affect
the integrity of the Rutland Island and Sound SAC (002283).


2.4.6 Waste production

Dumping and litter are noted in the Islands development plan as damaging the Islands environmental
assets. Waste management is the most important current issue with Islanders. Adverse reports in the
media give the Island a negative image with real financial impacts on tourism and service economy.

There will be two potential sources of waste from the proposed development:

1. Waste produced during construction, including:

- Spoil from excavation works
- Packaging from building materials
- Surplus and off cuts from building materials

During the construction phase of the proposed development a waste management system will be in
place consistent with the Waste Management Plan for the island. This will ensure that waste production
is kept in a minimum and that all waste will be removed from the site, for disposal in a licensed waste
facility. Surplus building materials are to be re-cycled.

Any excavated soil from this site must be
treated as though it is a carrier of invasive
weeds, due to the number of invasive
species existing on site. It is planned that
any soil from the site will remain on site.
However, it will not be removed to the
eastern end of the site, so that the semi-
natural habitat in that part of the site is not
damaged. A barrier must be placed to
separate out this area, before any
construction work starts, see the area marked
Marram on the habitat map (fig. 4), and the
location of the barrier to be placed before
construction, see opposite.


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As mentioned above, Japanese Knotweed
is of particular concern at this site, as this
plant has the ability to spread, dominating a
habitat and reducing biodiversity. It can
grow through tarmac and lift concrete and
therefore must be cleared completely
before starting to build. See appendix 3 for
suggested methods of removal (extracted
from the website
http://invasivespeciesireland.com/toolkit/inv
asive-plant-management/terrestrial-
plants/japanese-knotweed/). Removal
methods for all the invasive species can be
found on this website.


2. Litter, once the amenity space is in use:

There are two options with this waste. The first is to have plenty of litter bins which are maintained and
emptied regularly by a licensed waste collection company. Failing that, the second option is to not have
any bins if they cannot be regularly emptied. On the site visit, the current public litter bin along the back
of the beach, had not been emptied for some time. It was overflowing, and further waste had been
dumped alongside it. This is a magnet for dumping refuse, and only encourages more damage by
waste. Waste will impact the SAC, and will continue to damage the environment of the Island. If the
funding cannot be secured for an ongoing maintenance contract, the second option of no litter bins
should be employed to minimise waste, and Leave No Trace signage will be included to educate the
public using the space and urging users to be sensitive to the environment and to leave no trace of their
visit.



Japanese Knotweed
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2.5 Summary of Appropriate Assessment Stage
In summary, after the screening stage above, the following ecological features/qualifying interests of the
Rutland Island and Sound SAC, which occur near the proposed development, were selected for
Appropriate Assessment:

Large shallow inlets and bays - habitat complexes which comprise an interdependent mosaic of sub
tidal and intertidal habitats.

Reefs - rocky marine habitats or biological concretions that rise from the seabed. They are mainly
sub tidal in this area.

Harbour seals Phoca vitulina - the characteristic seal of sandflats and estuaries. Seals may range
widely in search of prey, and are occasionally seen in the area, but individuals return to favoured
haul-out sites, which in this area, are 5km away from the proposed development.

The potential impacts of the proposed development on Natura 2000 Sites in the area were examined in
the context of the following: Loss of habitats, alteration of habitats, disturbance and/or displacement of
protected flora and fauna, impairment of water quality and waste production. The potential impacts are
indirect and not considered to be significant, and mitigation measures will be employed during the
construction phase to avoid pollution.

In conclusion, while there may be very slight temporary alteration of the sand community complex habitat
of the large shallow inlets and bays during construction, this will not be significant and will not affect the
integrity of the SAC. There will be no significant impact on the harbour seals. Pollution control, water
quality and waste generation will be carefully managed to ensure no indirect impact on the SAC and
general environment.

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3 Cumulative Impacts
The EC (2001) guidelines on the provision of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive state that the phrase in
combination with other plans or projects in Article 3(3) of the Habitats Directive refers to the cumulative
impacts due to plans or projects that are currently under consideration together with the effects of any
existing or proposed projects or plans. Direct and indirect impacts have already been identified. The
following sections identify activities that are considered in the cumulative impact assessment of the
proposed development. The in-combination effects of this development with other existing or proposed
developments/projects are assessed, including National, Regional and Local Strategic Planning
Documents; as well as the main activities affecting the area including agriculture and tourism and other
developments.

3.1 Other developments within the area

The proposed development site is within the village of Leabgarrow, located on the southern end of
Leabgarrow beach and adjacent to the primary and secondary schools. Most of the surrounding area is
rural type housing and agricultural land and buildings. There are some houses, holiday homes, and
businesses such as shop, pubs and accommodation, stretched out along the beach from the ferry
landing and second pier.

A new development at the school is beside the site, between the school and the development site. The
sports facility was under construction during the site visit, and will be finished by the construction time of
the public amenity space. The sports facility is for school and community use and will have occasional
human generated noise, but it should provide no more disturbance to the SAC than the existing schools.

A new lifeboat station and slipway was completed in 2008 to the north of the ferry landing pier, 1.2 km
from the proposed development.

For fishing vessels, construction on a new pier at Rannagh was announced in March 2008. The older
being tidal, the water was not deep enough for the bigger boats now in use. The new pier is to be 50
metres long with a 15-metre dogleg for shelter along with an 80m long submerged breakwater. After
design and statutory approvals, construction was expected to commence in 2009. Rannagh is 4km
around the south coast from the proposed development and is too far away to have any cumulative
affect.

Any additional disturbance factors emanating from the proposed development will not compound existing
disturbance factors; considering that there are already:

- several buildings on the side of the road along part of the proposed development
- human activities occurring along the road and at the schools and sports pitches
- regular ferry services 500m north of the proposed development


Therefore any fauna utilising the beach area are already somewhat habituated to human activity. As
such it highly unlikely that any additional disturbance as a result of this development would be regular or
prolonged enough to cause permanent displacement of species of conservation for Natura 2000 sites.
The proposed development in combination with existing developments is not expected to result in a
significant cumulative impact.



3.2 Road network/Sea wall

Note that in-combination effects of coastal defence works has effects on coastal squeeze, and can also
significantly alter patterns of erosion and deposition along coastlines. There is existing rock armoury,
completed and mentioned in the Arranmore Island Plan 2008, forming a continuous sea wall along back
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of the beach, between it and the buildings or road. The proposed public amenity space will be built
entirely behind this existing armoury.



3.3 National, regional and local strategic planning documents

Arranmore Island Integrated Development Plan 2008-2013

The Arranmore Island Integrated Development Plan sets out nine development themes. Waste
Management is one of them. This contains objectives for the future sustainable development of the
island. It recognises that waste disposal and dumping have become major issues on the Island and
recommends a strategy to manage the island's waste streams in a way that is sympathetic to the local
environment, and substantially increase the level of waste recovered and recycled. Measures proposed
will reduce the quantity of household waste disposed of, and increase the quantity that is collected for
recycling. Basic recycling facilities are now in place. This will represent a sustainable future for the
people of Arranmore.

An objective of the Arranmore Development Plan 2008 2013 under the theme of Tourism, is to
facilitate the development of the Leabgarrow promenade with tourist amenities. Plans are advanced for
the development of a promenade/public amenity space at Leabgarrow. A bird watching facility has been
approved for financial assistance.


Donegal County Development Plan 2012-2018

One of Donegal County Development Plans key strategic objectives is to protect and enhance the
unique quality and diversity of the environment in the County, through a wide range of measures,
supported by proper planning and sustainable development. It also includes objectives for rural
diversification and eco tourism initiatives.


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4 Mitigation & Recommendations
In order to reduce the likely significance of the impacts on the Natura 2000 site, Rutland Island and
Sound SAC, it is recommended that mitigation by avoidance be undertaken on this project.


4.1 Mitigation

Mitigation by avoidance (improved project design) includes the following measure:
.
Re-design of the original plan for the amenity area to avoid changes to the existing rock armoury.
This will avoid impacting on the beach area, and then avoid the potential to interfere with coastal
zone processes such as longshore drift, sedimentation and erosion.


4.2 Recommendations

Recommendations that would potentially ecologically enhance the conservation value of the area
proposed for the walk project include:

Careful management and removal of the invasive species on the site, in particular Japanese
Knotweed. This may take some years and a maintenance plan to achieve.

Protection of the semi-natural habitat at the east of the site. This area is to be separated from the
development site and enhanced by the removal of the invasive Montbretia along the southern edge
beside the lane.

Signage to inform users about wildlife of the area and the sensitivity of the natural environment.
This should include an interpretative sign to educate the public of the wildlife species and habitats in
the area, (e.g. information about the semi-natural coastal grassland beside the site). and a Leave
No Trace sign which encourages users to be responsible in the countryside, and in particular to
avoid littering.
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Conclusions

Conservation status

According to the Habitats Directive, the conservation status of a natural habitat will be taken as
favourable when:
its natural range and areas it covers within that range are stable or increasing, and
the specific structure and functions which are necessary for its long-term maintenance exist and are
likely to continue to exist for the foreseeable future, and
the conservation status of its typical species is favourable as defined below.

According to the Habitats Directive, the conservation status of a species means the sum of the
influences acting on the species concerned that may affect the long-term distribution and abundance of
its populations.

Loss of habitats

There will be no loss of habitat of a Natura 2000 site.

Alteration of habitats

Two habitats were considered, shallow inlets and bays and reefs. Neither of these will be significantly
affected by the proposed development, provided the best practice measures and mitigation factors are
adhered to. Therefore the integrity of the Natura 2000 site, Rutland island and Sound SAC, [site code
2283], will not be negatively impacted by the proposed public amenity space at Leabgarrow.


Disturbance/displacement of protected fauna Harbour Seals

The regular haul out, breeding and moulting sites of harbour seals are far from the development site, and
no impact is anticipated on the seals.

Impairment of water quality

Avoidance of the SAC by machinery during construction, and mitigation measures to contain spillages
will minimise the potential impact on the beach and associated habitats


Waste production

Waste will be dealt with in accordance with the islands Waste Management Plan, and if possible a plan
for maintenance of any litter bins will be put in place.

In conclusion:
There will be no significant impact on any Natura 2000 sites due to the proposed development.



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Appendices



List of Appendices

Appendix 1 Legislative Context of Appropriate Assessment
Appendix 2 Leave No Trace
Appendix 3 Invasive Species Control Methods

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Appendix 1

Legislative context of Appropriate Assessment


Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, The
Habitats Directive, has been transposed into Irish law by The European Community (Natural Habitats)
Regulations 1997 (S.I. No. 94/1997). The 1997 Regulations were updated in 1998 by The European
Communities (Natural Habitats) (Amendment) Regulations 1998 (S.I. No. 233/1998) to include Council
Directive 97/62/EC which served to update Council Directive 92/43/EEC, adapting it to technical and
scientific progress made in the intervening years. The 1997 Regulations were again updated in 2005, by
The European Communities (Natural Habitats) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 (S.I. No. 378/2005). This
amendment served to consolidate the main nature conservation legislation enacted in Ireland, meaning
The Wildlife Act 1976, The Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, The European Communities (Natural
Habitats) Regulations 1997, The European Communities (Natural Habitats) (Amendment) Regulations
1998, and to draw direct reference upon Council Directive 79/409/EC on the conservation of wild birds -
The Birds Directive. The Birds Directive seeks to protect birds of special importance by the designation
of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) whereas the Habitats Directive does the same for habitats and other
species groups with Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) listing habitats (Annex I) and species (Annex
II) whose conservation is of community interest. It is the responsibility of each member state to designate
SPAs and SACs, both of which will form part of Natura 2000, a network of protected areas throughout
the European Community.

An Appropriate Assessment is required under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive where a project or plan
may give rise to significant effects upon a Natura 2000 Site, and paragraphs 3 and 4 state that:

6(3) Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely
to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall
be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation
objectives. In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to
the provisions of paragraph 4, the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only
after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned and, if
appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public.

6(4) If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative
solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public
interest, including those of a social or economic nature, the Member State shall take all compensatory
measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected. It shall inform the
Commission of the compensatory measures adopted. Where the site concerned hosts a priority natural
habitat type and/or a priority species, the only considerations which may be raised are those relating to
human health or public safety, to beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment or,
further to an opinion from the Commission, to other imperative reasons of overriding public interest.
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Appendix 2

Leave No Trace

www.leavenotraceireland.org/


For signage at the amenity promenade, choose the appropriate parts of this leave no trace document that apply
to Leabgarrow.


1 Plan Ahead and Prepare
Before you go check, where possible, if access is allowed and your activity is permitted in the area you wish to visit.
Respect any signs, regulations, policies and special concerns for the area that you wish to visit. Permits may
sometimes be needed for activities on public lands.
Where possible travel by public transport or share cars; consider the availability of parking.
Ensure you have the skills and equipment needed for your activity and to cope with emergencies that could arise.
Check the weather forecast and always be prepared for changing weather conditions.
For environmental and safety reasons, and to minimise your impact on other users, keep group numbers small;
split larger parties into smaller groups.

2 Be Considerate of Others
Respect the people who live and work in the countryside.
Park appropriately - avoid blocking gateways, forest entrances or narrow roads. Remember that farm machinery,
local residents and the emergency services may need access at all times.
Take care not to damage property, especially walls, fences and crops.
Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
Let nature's sounds prevail. Keep noise to a minimum.

3 Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife
Dogs should be kept under close control and should only be brought onto hills or farmland with the landowner's
permission. Some public areas stipulate that dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, please adhere to local
guidelines.
Observe wild animals and birds from a distance. Avoid disturbing them, particularly at sensitive times: mating,
nesting and raising young (mostly between spring and early summer).
Keep wildlife wild, don't feed wild animals or birds - our foods damage their health and leave them vulnerable to
predators.
Farm animals are not pets; remain at a safe distance.

4 Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
Durable ground includes established tracks and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.

In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing tracks and campsites.
To avoid further erosion, travel in single file in the middle of the track even when wet or muddy.
In more remote areas:
Disperse use to prevent the creation of new tracks and campsites.
Avoid places where impacts are just beginning to show.
If camping:
Protect water quality by camping at least 30m from lakes and streams.
Keep campsites small and discreet.
Aim to leave your campsite as you found it, or better.

5 Leave What You Find
Respect property. For example, farming or forestry machinery, fences, stone walls etc. Leave gates as you find
them (open or closed).
Preserve the past: examine - without damaging - archaeological structures, old walls and heritage artefacts e.g.
holy wells, mine workings, monuments.
Conserve the present: leave rocks, flowers, plants, animals and all natural habitats as you find them. Fallen trees
are a valuable wildlife habitat; do not remove or use for firewood.
Avoid introducing non-native plants and animals e.g. zebra mussels in rivers and lakes.
Do not build rock cairns, structures or shelters
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6 Dispose of Waste Properly
"If You Bring It In, Take It Out" - take home all litter and leftover food (including tea bags, fruit peels and other
biodegradable foods).
To dispose of solid human waste, dig a hole 15-20cms deep and at least 30m from water, campsites and tracks.
Cover and disguise the hole when finished.
Bring home toilet paper and hygiene products.
Wash yourself or your dishes 30m away from streams or lakes and if necessary use small amounts of
biodegradable soap. Bring home any solids and scatter strained dishwater.
For more information on sanitation in the outdoors read the "Where to go in the outdoors" leaflet

7 Minimise the Effects of Fire
Fires can cause lasting impacts and be devastating to forests, natural habitats and farmland. Therefore when
camping use a lightweight stove for cooking.
Where fires are permitted: Use established fire rings, barbecues or create a mound fire.
Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Do not use growing vegetation for
use as firewood.
Avoid burning plastics or other substances: which emit toxic fumes.
Burn all fires to ash, put out fires completely, and then scatter cool ashes.
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Appendix 3

Invasive Species Control
Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), is an invasive herbaceous perennial (a plant that can live more than
one year). Since it was introduced as an ornamental plant in the 19th Century from Japan, it has spread across
the island of Ireland, particularly along watercourses, transport routes and waste grounds where its movement
is unrestricted. Japanese knotweed can:
Seriously damage houses, buildings, hard surfaces and infrastructure growing through concrete, tarmac
and other hard surfaces in some cases.
Threaten native plants and animals by forming dense thickets.
Block routes used by wildlife to disperse.
Riverside Japanese knotweed damages flood defence structures and reduces the capacity of channels to
carry flood water.
Identification
You can download an identification sheet from the following link: Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
Red/purple shoots appear early in spring which in some case resemble an asparagus like appearance but, as
the canes grow, the leaves unfurl and the plant takes its more characteristic appearance. The mature canes are
like bamboo, being hollow, and have a characteristic pattern of purple speckles. The plant can grow to over 3m
in height. Flowering occurs in late summer/autumn (End July typically August) and consists of small creamy
white flowers. During the winter the leaves die back and reveal orange/brown woody erect stems.
The underground rhizomes which can extend up to 7 meters from the parent plant and up to 3 meters in depth
(sometimes further in exceptional cases) are thick and woody with a knotty appearance and when broken
reveal a bright orange-coloured centre.
Only female Japanese knotweed plants have been recorded to date in Ireland and the UK hence it is spread
entirely from site to site through the deliberate or accidental movement of rhizome fragments or cut stems.
Some reports suggest a fragment of knotweed as little as 0.6 grams can result in new growth.
The key features of the plant are summarised below:
Produces fleshy red tinged asparagus like shoots when it first breaks through the ground in an
established stand.
Has large, heart or spade-shaped green leaves which are approximately the size of your hand.
Has leaves arranged in a zig-zag pattern along the stem.
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Grows up to 3 metres in height.
Yellow / cream flowers in late summer (Typically the start forming from late July onwards).
Hollow bamboo like stemswhich have distinctive ring like nodules at regular intervals along it.
Brown stem in winter once it has died back.
Extensive rhizome system (roots) (7m x 3m approximately)
Orange centred rhizome.
Spread entirely via the movement of plant and rhizome fragments.
Similar species
The following species are commonly confused with Japanese knotweed: dock; buddleja (butterfly bush);
knotgrass, Russian vine (also known as mile a minute weed), red osier dogweed, some species of virburnum
and redshank (herb). Be aware that in Northern Ireland, Ireland and other parts of the UK other knotweed
species occur. Namely giant knotweed, hybrid knotweed and Himalayan knotweed which are all listed under
legislation. Both the giant and hybrid knotweed can easily be confused with Japanese knotweed and can be
distinguished by their leaf size and shape (see the GB NNSS ID sheet for drawings on page 2).
Impacts and key issues
Japanese knotweed grows vigorously and outcompetes native plants. Japanese knotweed forms tall thickets
that exclude all other vegetation, shading the area below. Native plants can rarely compete with this invasive
species and local plant biodiversity is reduced. Rivers, hedgerows, roadsides and railways can form important
wildlife corridors for native plants and animals to migrate and disperse along, and large infestations of Japanese
knotweed can block these routes for wildlife.
Japanese knotweed can also seriously damage buildings, hard surfaces and infrastructure in some cases. Once
established underneath or around the built environment, it can be particularly hard to control, in some cases
growing through concrete and tarmac and other areas of hard-standing. When Japanese knotweed colonises
riverbanks, it can damage flood defence structures and reduce the capacity of channels to carry flood water.
The following provides a summary of the key impacts of the species:
Excludes native species;
Dies back in winter leaving river banks vulnerable to erosion;
Subsequent potential sedimentation impact on fish spawning areas;
In cases it can damage building foundations;
Collects litter in urban areas; and
Can damage hard surfaces by growing through them.
How is the species spread
Even though Japanese knotweed plants flower the principal means of spread is entirely through the deliberate
or accidental movement of rhizome fragments or cut stems. Japanese knotweed has an extraordinary ability to
spread vegetatively from crown, stem and rhizome (underground root) if disturbed. Even tiny amounts of cut
stem, crown or rhizome are capable of producing a new plant. Controlling spread is therefore dependent on
preventing the spread of the stem, crown or rhizome.
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Management summary
Chemical control
Herbicide
active
ingredient /
Invasive
Plant
Glyphosate
(residual for
24-48 hours).
2,4 D amine
(residual for
approximately 1
month)
Triclopyr
(active for up
to 6 weeks)
Picloram
(residual for
up to 2
years).
Japanese
knotweed
Optimum time
of application
is late season
(Mid to late
September).
An early
season spray
maybe
required in
year 1 to
assist with
access for the
late season
spray. Will also
kill grasses
only approved
for use near
water in
certain
products.
Early season
application
preferred (Only
approved for
use near water
in certain
formulations).
Commonly
found in
products with
tricoplyr as well.
Early season
application
preferred
not approved
for use near
water. Can
be found in
products with
2,4-D amine
also present.
Can be
applied
anytime
during the
growing
season not
approved for
use near
water. May
also impact
on nearby
mature
vegetation
and shrubs.
Non-chemical control
Deep excavation and deep burial: This is an option that is used in situations where there is a
pressing development need for the site and time which would not allow for insitu herbicide control over
a longer period of time. If you require more information on this method, see the Environment
Agency knotweed code of practice. It is recommended in these instances to seek advice from
a suitably experienced knotweed specialist.
Biological: This method is not usually recommended for control of this species. Grazing is not an
eradication tool but is helpful in suppressing the plant and reducing spread in certain circumstances.
You must remember that Japanese knotweed has an extensive rhizome system that will not be grazed.
The psyllid bug Aphalara itadori was released in England in 2010. The effectiveness of this species at
reducing the vigour of Japanese knotweed is still being assessed. There are no current plans to release
this species in Ireland or Northern Ireland until more information is available. It is illegal to release any
non-native animal into the wild in both Ireland and Northern Ireland without a licence.
In general
Herbicides can be applied using a range of suitable applicators such as a knapsack sprayer. Control is
easier if dead winter stems are tidied over the winter months to assist with access before growth
commences i.e. to prevent tripping on them or them interfering with your knapsack lance. It is advised
to leave the cane in situ to reduce the risk of spread to other sites. Be careful to avoid spreading
knotweed crowns when tidying dead canes. Application in sensitive vegetation areas is best achieved by
stem injection or weed wiper.
Further details on control measure
1. Remember that it is illegal to dump Japanese knotweed waste in the countryside.
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2. It is illegal to plant or otherwise cause Japanese knotweed to grow. Hence you should be careful to
ensure that you do not cause further spread.
3. It is illegal to dispose of Japanese knotweed at a landfill site without informing the landfill site that the
waste material is Japanese knotweed.
4. To move soil in the Republic of Ireland that contains Japanese knotweed will require a license from
NPWS.
5. Japanese knotweed can regenerate from very small fragments of rhizome (as little as 0.7 grams).
6. Plant material should not be composted as it is ineffective and may result in further spread.
7. Plants should be treated in the same season as they are identified. Try not to let stands of Japanese
knotweed become established as this species is very difficult to control. If it is a recent introduction it is
best to tackle it quickly to prevent the rhizome system from fully establishing.
8. Japanese knotweed is not an easy plant to control due to its extensive underground rhizome system.
Therefore treatment often needs to be repeated until no regrowth is observed over several years for
eradication to be achieved.
9. Repeated herbicide treatments over several years are normally recommended for complete
control of Japanese knotweed. Continued monitoring of the treated areas should also be carried out to
ensure that no new shoots appear.
10. If you intend to deep bury the dead Japanese knotweed material or dispose of it off-site for deep burial,
it is recommended that you should only use glyphosate formulations. Other persistent herbicides may
not be allowed for deep burial under various waste regulations and due to a potential risk of pollution of
groundwater. It is recommended not to deep bury or bund Japanese knotweed onsite within 10 metres
of the site boundary as a precaution.
11. When planning works with Japanese knotweed ensure you have built in biosecurity measures into your
management plan. For example fencing off and creating a buffer around the area if it is a development
site, warning signs, use of set haulage routes, covering loads, ensuring all staff working on the site are
aware of the presence of knotweed, use of a set cleaning area etc.
Sources of further information:
The Environment Agencys (EPA) Japanese Knotweed Code of Practice
Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) Commonly Asked
Questions

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As well as the reports and publications listed above, the following resources where examined:
Web-based resources
National Biodiversity Data Centre, Ireland data & Invasive Species Ireland data
Downloaded from http://maps.biodiversityireland.ie/#/Home and http://apps.biodiversityireland.ie/InvasivesBrowser/
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National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) information on protected sites
Downloaded from http://www.npws.ie/protectedsites/ and http://webgis.npws.ie/npwsviewer/
OSI aerial photography & OSI 1:50000 mapping
Downloaded from http://maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,591271,743300,0,10
Bat Conservation Ireland: Online bat records database. Downloaded from
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plants/japanese-knotweed/