2: Stage 1 Screening

closeddate_range12 Dec, 2014, 12:00am - 6 Feb, 2015, 12:00am

 

2.1   Description of Proposed Amendment No.2 

2.1.1   Description of the Callan Local Area Plan

The Callan Local Area Plan 2009-2020 (the Plan) has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, and sets out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the town. Since the Plans initial conception, it has been extended to the year 2020, and has been subject to two amendments. The Plan comprises the statutory land use plan for the town in the promotion and regulation of development and therefore provides a clear vision for Callan, providing for the needs of the existing and future population. It provides for the development of Callan by setting out zoning and other objectives for the proper planning and sustainable development of the town, considering the needs of the town, and informing and coordinating decisions on planning applications. The Plan plays a key role in translating overarching policies and objectives of the Kilkenny County Development Plan at the local level. The Callan Local Area Plan 2009 - 2020 is consistent with the County Development Plan and sets out detailed policies and objectives which control the development of the area within the town’s boundary as defined by this Plan.

The Proposed Amendment to the Callan Local Area Plan under consideration in this AA relates to the proposed extension of the LAP boundary to include an 8 acre site at Westcourt, Callan as described in further detail in Section 2.1.2 below.

2.1.2   Description of Proposed Amendment to the Callan LAP

The proposed Amendment to the Callan Local Area Plan involves the extension of the LAP boundary to include an 8 acre site at Westcourt, Callan as shown on Figure 1. It is proposed to include a site specific objective for this land as follows:

To facilitate the development of a residential complex (10  units approx.) initiated by the Camphill Community with ancillary small scale socio-economic uses related to the activities of the residents of the development, and to provide for a pedestrian link from the lands to the town centre under the by-pass via the Moat Field, subject to the following:

  • The development must not interfere with the ecological integrity of the adjacent Kings River which forms part of the River Barrow/ River Nore SAC, a Natura 2000 site.
  • A site-specific Flood Risk Assessment appropriate to the type and scale of the proposed development and a site specific justification test if required must be submitted at planning application stage.
  • The archaeological importance of the site must be safeguarded by protecting  archaeological sites and monuments (including their setting),  and archaeological objects, including those that are listed in the Record of Monuments and Places, and in the Urban Archaeological Survey of County Kilkenny or newly discovered subsurface archaeological remains.  Any proposed development in the vicinity or confines of archaeological monuments will require an archaeological assessment and the preparation of an archaeological impact statement for submission as part of any planning application for development within this area.
  • When innovative layouts and exceptional design for living are achieved, strict adherence to the development management standards for new residential developments as set out in Chapter 12 of the County Development Plan 2014-2020 will not be required, provided the proposed designs can be demonstrated to satisfy the social and physical needs of the occupants.

The land will retain its ‘Agriculture’ zoning objective. The following definition of the Agriculture zoning will be included in the Plan:

Objective: To conserve and protect agricultural land from interference from non-agricultural uses.  To prevent development of agricultural land adjacent to development areas which would prejudice the future expansion of the town, except in exceptional circumstances where there are site specific development objectives for the provision of certain types of development.

Permissible uses: Agriculture, horticulture, public service installations, uses identified in site specific development objectives.

Open for Consideration: Public open space, guesthouse, restaurant, nursing home, dwelling houses in certain limited cases, halting site, private open space, other uses not contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

The proposed addition of 8 acres will increase the LAP lands by 1.5% (Plan area is currently 516 acres approx). The location and extent of the proposed LAP boundary is presented in Figure 1 below.

 

 

 

Figure 1 Location and extent of the proposed extension of the LAP boundary

 

2.2   European sites within 15 km of the Lands Referred to by Proposed Amendment No. 2

2.2.1   cSACs and SPAs

This section of the screening process describes the European sites within 15km of the lands referred to by the Proposed Amendment No. 2. A distance of 15 km is currently recommended in the DoEHLG document Guidance for Planning Authorities[2] and as a precautionary measure, to ensure that all potentially affected European sites are included in the screening process. A map indicating the locations of the sites in relation to the lands referred to by the Proposed Amendment is presented in Figure 2. A larger scale map showing the location of the proposed Amendment Lands in relation to the River Barrow and River Nore cSAC is presented in Figure 3.

Table 1 lists the European sites that occur within 15 km of the lands referred to by the Proposed Amendment. The qualifying features for each site have been obtained through a review of information pertaining to each site available from the NPWS website.

Information regarding the main threats to European sites was derived from a variety of sources:

  • Ireland’s Article 17 Report to the European Commission “Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland” (NPWS, 2008)
  • Site Synopses
  • NATURA 2000 Standard Data Forms
  • Detailed Site Specific Conservation Objectives and supporting documents (where available)

Since the conservation management objectives for the European sites focus on maintaining the favourable conservation status of the qualifying interests of each site, the Screening process concentrated on assessing the potential implications of the Proposed Amendment against the qualifying interests of each site.

 

 

 

Figure 2 European sites within 15km of the Proposed Amendment lands

 

Figure 3 Aerial photograph showing location of the Proposed Amendment lands at Westcourt in relation to the River Barrow and River Nore cSAC. @ ESRI.

Figure 3 Aerial photograph showing location of the Proposed Amendment lands at Westcourt in relation to the River Barrow and River Nore cSAC. @ ESRI.

 

 

Table 1 European sites within 15 km of the Lands Referred to by Proposed Amendment No. 2

Site Code

Site Name

Qualifying Feature

Threats to Site Integrity

002162

River Barrow and River Nore cSAC

Annex I Habitats

[1130] Estuaries

[1140] Tidal Mudflats and Sandflats

[1310] Salicornia mud

[1320] Spartina Swards

[1330] Atlantic Salt Meadows

[1410] Mediterranean Salt Meadows

[3260] Floating River Vegetation

[4030] Dry heath

[6430] Hydrophilous Tall Herb

[7220] Petrifying springs*

[91A0] Old Oak Woodlands

[91E0] Residual Alluvial Forests*

 

Annex II Species

[1016] Desmoulin’s whirl snail (Vertigo moulinsiana)

[1029] Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)

[1092] White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes)

[1095] Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)

[1096] Brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri)

[1099] River lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis)

[1102] Allis shad (Alosa alosa)

[1103] Twaite shad(Alosa fallax fallax)

[1106] Salmon(Salmo salar)

[1355] Otter (Lutra lutra)

[1421] Killarney fern (Trichomanes speciosum)

[1990] Pearl mussel (Margaritifera durrovensis)

 

The principle threats to the River Barrow and River Nore cSAC are pollution caused by increased fertiliser application, sewage and industrial waste. Species such as Freshwater Pearl Mussel are highly susceptible to siltation of water course and proposed developments in the vicinity of the cSAC may give rise to siltation and run-off of pollutants.

 

The river has also been designated for its population of otter, a species vulnerable to the felling of mixed wood and scrub. Otters may become displaced due to disturbance during the development of unmitigated residential areas in proximity to the cSAC.

002137

Lower River Suir cSAC

Annex I Habitats

[1330] Atlantic Salt Meadows

[1410] Mediterranean Salt Meadows

[3260] Floating River Vegetation

[6430] Hydrophilous Tall Herb

[91A0] Old Oak Woodlands

[91E0] Residual Alluvial Forests*

[91J0] Yew Woodlands*

 

Annex II Species

[1029] Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)

[1092] White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes)

[1095] Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)

[1096] Brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri)

[1099] River lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis)

[1102] Allis shad (Alosa alosa)

[1103] Twaite shad (Alosa fallax fallax)

[1106] Salmon (Salmo salar)

[1355] Otter (Lutra lutra)

Water quality of this site is vulnerable to enrichment from surrounding agricultural activities and commercial and private developments near the river edge. Infilling and drainage threatens the continued presence of the rare plant species Hordeum secalinum and Groenlandia densa. Drainage in the catchment results in flash floods which can have a negative impact on the many Annex II species present. Any further planting or spread of exotic species would be damaging to the existing woodland habitats.

004233

River Nore SPA

[A229] Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

There are no reported threats to this SPA. Kingfisher would be vulnerable to disturbance during the breeding season. They nest within burrows on river banks.

 

2.3   Assessment Criteria

2.3.1   Is the Plan Necessary to the Management of European Sites?

Under the Habitats Directive, Plans that are directly connected with or necessary to the management of a European site do not require AA. For this exception to apply, management is required to be interpreted narrowly as nature conservation management in the sense of Article 6(1) of the Habitats Directive. This refers to specific measures to address the ecological requirements of annexed habitats and species (and their habitats) present on a site(s). The relationship should be shown to be direct and not a by-product of the plan, even if this might result in positive or beneficial effects for a site(s).

The primary purpose of the proposed Amendment to the Callan LAP is not the nature conservation management of European sites but to provide for development. Therefore, the proposed Amendment is not considered by the Habitats Directive to be directly connected with or necessary to the management of European designated sites.

 

2.3.2   Elements of the Proposed Amendment to the Callan LAP with Potential to Give Rise to Effects

An assessment of the potential for effects on European sites to arise due to the proposed Amendment is presented in the following sections. The assessment considers the full range of effects including direct, indirect and cumulative. The changes to the boundary of the LAP and the associated land use zoning provided for by the Proposed Amendment would facilitate the development of a residential complex within the lands in question. The lands occur directly adjacent to the River Barrow and River Nore cSAC.

The activities that could be associated with development of these lands that could give rise to effects on European sites are as follows:

  • Site clearance and construction works (associated with development of the lands and the possible provision of a footpath / pedestrian route between the lands and Callan town centre). Such development could potentially give rise to habitat loss, disturbance to key species and changes in key indicator values for conservation status;
  • Increases in human activity allowed for by the changes in landuse could give rise to disturbance effects to key species;
  • Alteration of hydrological characteristics of the lands could impact on aquatic ecosystems of European sites downstream by alteration of quantity / quality of surface water run-off.

 

2.3.2.1 Direct, Indirect or Secondary Impacts

As outlined in the European Commission Environment DG document “Assessment of plans and projects significantly affecting Natura 2000 sites: Methodological guidance on the provisions of Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC”, impacts that could potentially occur through the implementation of the Proposed Amendment can be categorised under a number of headings:

  • Loss / reduction of habitat area (e.g. due to the development of new projects);
  • Disturbance to Key Species (e.g. increased public access to protected sites, or during the construction phase of infrastructure projects);
  • Habitat or species fragmentation;
  • Reduction in species density;
  • Changes in key indicators of conservation value such as changes in water quality / quantity (e.g. through inadequate wastewater treatment, run-off of pollutants during construction and operation of developments).

In determining the potential for significant effects, a number of factors have been taken into account.

Firstly, the sensitivity of the European sites as outlined in Table 1. Secondly, the Proposed Amendment to the Callan LAP and the potential effects its adoption could have on European sites in the surroundings. The relationships between the lands subject to the Proposed Amendment and the European sites were also taken into account, such as proximity and hydrological linkages. The potential for effects to arise as a result of these relationships is discussed below. The outcome of the screening is then summarised in Table 2 below.

In summary, it is concluded that there is potential for significant impacts, if unmitigated, on the River Barrow and River Nore cSAC due to the proposed extension of the LAP lands and associated zoning (including site specific objectives) of the lands in question. Impacts resulting from this change in land use could potentially lead to habitat loss, disturbance to key species, deterioration in water quality and alteration of hydrological regime due to developments directly adjacent to the cSAC.

Considering the location of the River Nore SPA, and the known ecology and sensitivities of Kingfisher (qualifying feature for which site is designated), potential for adverse impacts on the SPA are not foreseen therefore the site can be excluded from further consideration in the AA.

No pathways for potential impacts exist between the lands under consideration in the proposed amendment and the River Suir cSAC, and therefore potential significant effects are ruled out and the site is excluded from further consideration in the AA.

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2 Screening of European Sites within 15 km of the Proposed Amendment lands

Site Name

Potential Impacts arising from the Proposed Amendment

AA Required

River Barrow and River Nore cSAC (002162)

Development of lands directly adjacent to the cSAC as provided for by the proposed amendment could potentially lead to the following impacts on the conservation interest of the cSAC:

  • Habitat loss associated  with the construction of a pedestrian route between the lands;

Disturbance to key species due to development works adjacent to the cSAC and increased human activity in the area;

Alteration in water quality of the cSAC due to any changes in surface water discharges from the site during construction or operational phase.

Yes

Lower River Suir cSAC (002137)

The Callan area is located outside of the catchment of the River Suir cSAC. Development facilitated under the Proposed Amendment to the plan is therefore unlikely to have impacts on the qualifying interests of the Lower River Suir cSAC.

No

River Nore SPA (004233)

The SPA is located ca 2km downstream from the lands that are subject to the Proposed Amendment. Kingfisher are known to breed and forage within the confines of the river corridor. Considering the scale and characteristics of any development within the subject lands, disturbance impacts on Kingfisher occurring within the river corridor and downstream SPA are not foreseen. Similarly, the SPA is sufficiently removed that indirect impacts on the population of Kingfisher within the SPA are not foreseen.

No

2.4   Other Plans and Projects

Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive requires an assessment of a plan or project to consider other plans or programmes that might, in combination with the plan or project, have the potential to adversely impact upon European sites. Table 3 lists the plans or programmes that may interact with the Callan LAP to cause in-combination effects to European sites. The plans or programmes are listed according to a four tier spatial hierarchy: International; National; Regional; and Local.

 

Table 3 Plans & Programmes Likely to Cause In-Combination Effects

Directive

Purpose

Interactions resulting in Cumulative Impacts

International

EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC)

Objectives seek to maintain and enhance the quality of all surface waters in the EU.

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Directive is to improve environmental quality.

EU Freshwater Fish Directive (78/659/EEC)

Objectives seek to protect those fresh water bodies identified by Member States as waters suitable for sustaining fish populations. For those waters it sets physical and chemical water quality objectives for salmonid waters and cyprinid waters.

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Directive is to improve environmental quality.

EU Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EC)

This directive establishes a regime, which sets underground water quality standards and introduces measures to prevent or limit inputs of pollutants into groundwater.

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Directive is to improve environmental quality.

EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC)

The Floods Directive applies to river basins and coastal areas at risk of flooding. With trends such as climate change and increased domestic and economic development in flood risk zones, this poses a threat of flooding in coastal and river basin areas.

Potential in-combination impacts may arise, if unmitigated, where there is a requirement to provide for new infrastructure such as flood walls or flood defences. Avoidance on, or near protected areas should be implemented or where this is not possible, favouring infrastructure that carries a lower risk of damage to protected areas should be emphasised in the plan.

Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC)

This Directive has the objective of reducing water pollution caused or induced by nitrates from agricultural sources and preventing further pollution.

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Directive is to improve environmental quality.

The Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC)

The primary objective is to protect the environment from the adverse effects of discharges of urban wastewater, by the provision of urban wastewater collecting systems (sewerage) and treatment plants for urban centres. The Directive also provides general rules for the sustainable disposal of sludge arising from wastewater treatment.

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Directive is to improve environmental quality.

Sewage Sludge Directive (86/278/EEC)

Objective is to encourage the appropriate use of sewage sludge in agriculture and to regulate its use in such a way as to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and man. To this end, it prohibits the use of untreated sludge on agricultural land unless it is injected or incorporated into the soil.

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Directive is to improve environmental quality.

The Integrated Pollution Prevention Control Directive (96/61/EC)

Objective is to achieve a high level of protection of the environment through measures to prevent or, where that is not practicable, to reduce emissions to air, water and land from industrial sources.

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Directive is to improve environmental quality.

National

National Spatial Strategy 2002-2020

Objectives of the NSS are to achieve a better balance of social, economic and physical development across Ireland, supported by more effective planning.

Potential in-combination impacts may arise, if unmitigated, where there is a requirement to provide for new infrastructure.

Provision of infrastructure may result in:

•           Habitat loss

•           Alteration of hydrology

•           Deterioration in water quality

•           Disturbance during construction / operation

Regional

South Eastern River Basin Plan

This plan aims to achieve good water quality within the region by 2015 in keeping with the Water Framework Directive

No risk of likely significant in-combination effects will result as the primary purpose of the Plan is to improve water quality in the South-west region.

Regional Planning Guidelines for the South-East Region 2010 – 2022.

Policy document which aims to direct the future growth of the South-east Area over the medium to long term and works to implement the strategic planning framework set out in the National Spatial Strategy (NSS)

Potential in-combination impacts may arise, if unmitigated, where there is a requirement to provide for new infrastructure.

Provision of infrastructure may result in:

•           Habitat loss

•           Alteration of hydrology

•           Deterioration in water quality

•           Disturbance during construction / operation

Local

 

 

Wexford County Development Plan 2013-2019

Laois County Development Plan 2012-2018

Carlow County Development Plan 2009-2015

Carlow Town Development Plan 2012 – 2020

Kilkenny County Development Plan 2014-2020

Kilkenny City Development Plan 2014 - 2020

North Tipperary County Development Plan 2010

South Tipperary County Development Plan 2009

Overall strategies for the proper planning and sustainable development of the administrative area of the relevant Local Authorities.

Development plans in existence throughout the surrounding counties acting alone or in combination can have a cumulative impact on European Sites located within County Carlow. In relation to the River Barrow and River Nore cSAC, potential for in-combination impacts exists due to the site extending into the surrounding counties of Laois (upstream), Kilkenny (downstream), and Kildare (upstream).

Provision of infrastructure may result in:

•           Habitat loss

•           Alteration of hydrology

•           Deterioration in water quality

•           Disturbance during construction / operation

 

2.5   Conclusion of Screening Stage

The likely impacts that could arise from the proposed Amendment No. 2 to the Callan LAP have been examined in the context of a number of factors that could potentially affect the integrity of the Natura 2000 network of sites. On the basis of the findings of this Screening for AA, it is concluded that the Proposed Amendment:

(i) is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of a European site; and

(ii) may have significant impacts on the Natura 2000 network.

Therefore, applying the precautionary principle and in accordance with Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive, a Stage 2 AA is required. That stage is set out in Section 3 of this report.