9.2.2 Biodiversity Outside of Habitats Designated for Nature Conservation

opendate_range22 Dec, 2020, 9:00am - 12 Mar, 2021, 5:00pm
9.2.2 Biodiversity Outside of Habitats Designated for Nature Conservation

Much of the biodiversity in the county occurs in the wider countryside, i.e., in areas which are not subject to legal protection under National or EU biodiversity law.  These habitats and features are particularly important in contributing to the biodiversity, landscape value and sense of place of the county.  They provide vital links and corridors to allow the movement of plant and animals between the network of protected sites. These features include: hedgerows, ditches and banks, stone walls, woodlands, estates and parklands, rivers, streams and associated riparian zones, reservoirs, ponds and canals.  Such corridors or interconnected networks are the basis of our Green Infrastructure.

Article 10 of the Habitats Directive outlines the obligations of EU member states in relation to natural heritage in the wider countryside.  It provides that through land use planning and development policies, Planning Authorities shall endeavour to improve the ecological coherence of the Natura 2000 network and encourage the management of landscape features that are of major importance for wild fauna and flora.  Such features are those which, by virtue of their function and structure are essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species and form part of the network of green infrastructure.

Kilkenny County Council has commissioned, and continues to commission, habitat assessments and Green Infrastructure surveys of a number of towns, villages, and habitats throughout the county, including Kilkenny City, Gowran, Fiddown, Piltown, Johnstown, Urlingford, Ballyragget, Ballyhale, Mooncoin, Thomastown, and Knocktopher. The findings of these surveys are vital to improving our understanding of biodiversity resource in the county and will be used to inform the development management process.

Objective:

9A          Continue to identify and map habitats and green infrastructure of county importance, and raise awareness and understanding of the county’s natural heritage and biodiversity.

Development Management Requirements:

  • To Ensure that development proposals, where relevant, improve the ecological coherence of the Natura 2000 network and encourage the retention and management of landscape features that are of major importance for wild fauna and flora as per Article 10 of the Habitats Directive.
  • To Protect and where possible enhance wildlife habitats and landscape features which act as ecological corridors/networks and stepping stones, such as river corridors, hedgerows and road verges, and to minimise the loss of habitats and features of the wider countryside (such as ponds, wetlands, trees) which are not within designated sites.   
  • To ensure that appropriate mitigation and/or compensation measures to conserve biodiversity, landscape character and green infrastructure networks are required in developments where habitats are at risk or lost as part of a development.   

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