Clondrisse Pig Farm Ltd. Gillardstown House Gillardstown Castlepollard Co Westmeath

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1 Clondrisse Pig Farm Ltd. Gillardstown House Gillardstown Castlepollard Co Westmeath Ms Dorota Richards, Administrative Officer Office of Climate, Licensing & Resource Use Environmental Protection Agency Johnstown Castle Estate Wexford. 24 September Re: P Reply to Agency s Article 10(2)(b)(ii) Request of 20 February Dear Ms Richards, This is our response to the Article 10(2)(b)(ii) requests of 20 February 2014 received from Ms Pamela McDonnell. The requests are dealt with in the order in which they were set down in the request letter. 1. A screening report on Appropriate Assessment has been completed and is submitted in Attachment No. L with this response. The Screening Report concludes that the activity is not likely to have significant adverse impact on a European / Natura Site and so Appropriate Assessment is considered to be not required. 2. (a) The Best Available Techniques (BAT) described in the July 2003 BREF for intensive rearing of Pigs and Poultry and relevant to pig breeding and rearing activity are listed on Table 8(i) which is in Attachment No. I.5. The Table was compiled with regard to paragraph 2(c) in the request. (b) We do not see any BAT in the Energy Efficiency BREF or in the Emissions from Storage BREF that are relevant to pig rearing and not considered under the Intensive Agriculture BREF. 3. Article 3(18) of Directive 2010/75/EU is, and section 3 of the EPA Act contains: hazardous substances means substances or mixtures as defined in Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures. In our opinion the baseline report required in certain cases by section 86B of the EPA Act (as amended) is not required in relation to this activity as it does not involve the use, production or release of relevant hazardous substances as is defined in section 3 of the EPA Act. Please revert to us if this is not correct. 4. Electricity used in the installation is about 400,000 kwh per year. There is no other fuel used. 5. (a) 744 places for sows was referred to in the Westmeath planning application Ref No 09/2025. That number did not include the served gilts planned to be maintained in the installation. (b) Pig housing in the installation accommodates: 744 sows, described as pigs that have produced a litter, as was common practice in 2009, Served gilts, about 340, but number is subject to variation, (1,084 sows as currently defined). Gilts between 30kg and service (number subject to variation), and 1

2 Progeny not for breeding produced by breeding herd, each up to 30kg (number variable). It is not clear that all of this detail is required by Article 9(2)(g) as claimed in the request letter. The number of animals that can be accommodated in an authorised development is regulated by Animal Welfare Regulations, and is a function of the available floor area and the class/classes of animals accommodated, and within a holding, is subject to compliance with standards in relation to manure collection and storage arrangements contained in the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) Regulations (S.I. No. 31 of 2014). Stock in the installation will comply with Animal Welfare Rules. (c) The annual production of pig manure cannot be calculated accurately or reliably in advance of the measurement of volume for the purpose of complying with Article 23(1)(g) of the GAP Regulations as it is transferred from the activity. The estimated figure for manure volume provided in the application was calculated for the purpose of determining statutory manure storage capacity required for the installation so as to have the storage capacity required by Article 9 of the GAP Regulations (then SI 610 of 2010, now S.I. No. 31 of 2014, requirement not changed). The manure storage capacity in the installation is sufficient for more than 6 months manure production by the herd described at 5(b) above. The figure supplied in the application serves as an estimate of the annual figures for slurry volume that may be produced in the installation and be available for sale or supply and transfer off the installation for use in fertilising customers farmlands. The figures supplied for nitrogen and phosphorus in the application are simply the estimated volume figure (m 3 ) multiplied by 4.2 and 0.8, respectively. All manure is and will be transferred off the installation and the volume transferred is being and will be recorded for reporting to the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. It is not clear that advance details about fertiliser product output is required by Article 9(2)(g) of the Licensing Regulations, as is suggested or claimed in the request letter. 6. The class of activity listed in the amended First Schedule of the EPA Acts 1992 to 2013 and which is carried on in the installation is: 6.2 The rearing of pigs in an installation where the capacity exceeds (a) 750 places for sows. The class of activity listed in Directive 2010/75/EU and which is carried on in the installation is: 6.6. Intensive rearing of poultry or pigs: (c) with more than 750 places for sows. 7. Slurry produced by the activity is product/by-product fertiliser which is sold or supplied to customers to whom it is transferred from the installation in compliance with legislation under which transfer is authorised and regulated. Customers who will be supplied are not contracted and are not known to be customers / users of manure from the activity in any year in advance of actually acquiring slurry. This applicant has no role or function in creating a customer list with their areas farmed and import capacity for the EPA, or in submitting to the EPA for public file a customer list in any form. We believe that the documents requested are not documents required under Article 9(2)(g) of the Licensing Regulations as suggested or claimed in the request letter. 8. The N & P Statements for each customer farm are not ours, are not available to us, are of no use to us and are not documents required from us under Article (9)(2)(g) of the Licensing Regulations as suggested or claimed in the request letter. 2

3 9. We do not recognise what the Agency means by spread land in relation to our activity and the current application for a licence. We have no role or function in either describing or monitoring any customer s land. We believe that the maps requested should not have been requested from us because they are not of lands which are part of the activity or installation that are the subject of our application for a licence. They cannot be produced or assembled by us. They are not ours to submit to any one or to any authority. They are not documents that may be required from us under Article 9(2)(g) of the Licensing Regulations as suggested or claimed in the request letter. 10. There are no sensitive receptors in the vicinity of the activity, either within 1km of the activity or elsewhere, impacted by the activity. An updated Non-Technical Summary is included with this response. One hard copy and a copy in searchable pdf file P Response to Art 10(2)(b)(2)(ii) Request on each of 2 CD-ROM discs are submitted along with this signed response. Signed: Clondrisse Pig Farm Ltd. William Murphy Director. Encl. Attachment No. A.1 Attachment No. I.5 Attachment No. L Updated Non-Technical Summary of the licence application. Table I.8 (i) Conclusions on BAT for Pig Rearing. Report on Screening for Appropriate Assessment 3

4 Attachment No A.1 Updated Non-Technical Summary of the Industrial Emissions activity Licence Application. Clondrisse Pig Farm Ltd is applying to the Environmental Protection Agency for an Industrial Emissions Directive activity licence to operate its pig rearing activity carried on at Bracklyn, Delvin, Co Westmeath. The area of the installation on which the activity is based is about 1.90 ha. It is in a rural area. The installation comprises 5 animal houses, a feed store, feed mixing room and an office. Floor area is about 6,311 m 2 ). It also incorporates manure collection and storage tanks under the pig houses (capacity about 6,348m 3 ) and a septic tank and percolation area and equipment necessary for the accommodation, management and husbandry of the animals, and the administration of the enterprise. The structures and equipment in the installation were designed and installed for the purpose of breeding and rearing pigs for sale off the installation either for processing into human food by the pork/bacon industry or for further feeding to maturity elsewhere. The installation has capacity to accommodate more than 750 sows in a breeding unit and to rear progeny to weaner weight (30kg), at which time they are transferred from the installation for further feeding elsewhere. While production in the installation is continuous, the presence of staff, and deliveries/collections, are normally between 6.00 and hours. The principal inputs in the activity are pig feed, water, veterinary medicines and electricity for heating, motive power and lighting. Pig feed (incl. cereals, soya, minerals) is acquired from the animal feed industry. Water for pigs and for washing is acquired from a private well near the installation. Animal houses are insulated to minimise heat loss and energy use. The outputs are pigs and pig manure (animal byproduct, fertiliser) collected and stored pending sale or supply and transfer from the installation as fertiliser. Some animals die of natural causes before sale. Carcases of dead animals are placed in a closed skip in the installation. The carcases are sent from the installation for rendering at an authorised rendering plant as is required by legislation in S.I. No. 252 of 2008 (as amended) the Animal By-Products (ABP) Regulations. There is a programme in place for the control of vermin and pests in the installation. There is no significant pollution caused by the activity. Disposal of waste and small quantities of hazardous waste (sharps and fluorescent lighting tubes) is as required by separate waste legislation. It is policy to minimise waste accumulation and to recycle as much as possible, but the recyclable volume is small. Storm water from roofs and clean paved yards is discharged to a local watercourse. Effluent from staff sanitary facilities is treated in an authorised treatment plant and discharged to an authorised percolation area. There is no process effluent discharge from the installation. Normal respiration gasses and odours emit from the animal houses and from animal manure, particularly during movement of the manure. Odours emitted in the installation do not interfere with amenities outside the installation. The structures and equipment in the installation are in excellent serviceable condition and will be maintained that way. The practices and technology used in the installation for the rearing of pigs and the control of emissions from the activity are the best available to the enterprise. Pig manure is not an emission from the activity. It is a lawful and valuable fertiliser for farmland. It is collected and stored in tanks pending transfer to farmers who acquire quantities of it that they specify for their use on their holdings of farmland. The sale or supply and transfer of manure to individual farmer customers who use it is authorised under the ABP Regulations and S.I. No. 253 of 2008, and is part od Good Agricultural Practice. Dispatches of manure are recorded as is required by Article 23(1)(g) in S.I. No. 31 of Customers use of pig manure to land in their holdings is separately required to comply with all the relevant standards in S.I. No. 31 of 2014 as they apply to them and their farms. Storm water discharged of from the installation and groundwater from the well is and will be monitored periodically to check quality parameters and detect any unexpected effect of the activity on waters. Best available techniques (BAT) are identified in the application and are used to ensure efficient operation, efficient management of by-product, minimal production of waste and a high standard of protection for the environment as a whole, with minimal risk of significant pollution. If activity in the installation ceases, animals in stock will be sold, consumable inputs returned to source, manure tanks emptied and the installation will be secured. 24/9/

5 CONCLUSIONS ON BAT ATTACHMENT No. I.5

6 TABLE I.5 (i) Conclusions on BAT for Pig Rearing - from 2003 BREF Document. IE Application Reg, No. P BAT Reference No. BREF Sec. BAT Statement Applicability to Installation Proposed / In place For improving the general environmental performance of an intensive livestock farm, BAT is to do all of the following: "Installation" as defined and "Farm" are not the same. Not strictly applicable to the installation. Only the Intensive Agriculture (IA) activity is licensable, and subject to BAT and licence conditions identify and implement education and training programmes for farm staff. Applicable In place keep records of water and energy usage, amounts of livestock feed, waste arising, and field applications of fertiliser and manure have an emergency procedure to deal with unplanned emissions and incidents implement a repair and maintenance programme to ensure that structures and equipment are in good working order and that facilities are kept clean plan activities at the site properly, such as the delivery of materials and the removal of products and waste. Applicable BUT excluding records of and field applications of fertiliser and manure. Applicable Applicable Applicable Phrases either "Proposed" or "In place" are identified as such below. In place, but for manure, only records of transfers out plan the application of manure to land properly. Not applicable. Not in place. Not proposed ; apply nutritional measures at source by feeding pigs lower amounts of nutrients 8 minimise emissions from manure to soil and groundwater by balancing the amount of manure with the foreseeable requirements of the crop (nitrogen and phosphorus, and the mineral supply to the crop from the soil and from fertilisation). 9 take into account the characteristics of the land concerned when applying manure; in particular soil conditions, soil type and slope, climatic conditions, rainfall and irrigation, land use and agricultural practices, including crop rotation syst 10 to reduce pollution of water by doing in particular all of the following: not applying manure to land when the field is: water-saturated or flooded or frozen or snow covered, not applying manure to steeply sloping fields not applying manure adjacent to any watercourse, and spreading the manure as close as possible before maximum crop growth and nutrient uptake. Applicable only in the context of a "phase feeding" programme. Not applicable. Fertiliser use is by the farmers farming the land on which the fertiliser is used; not by the supplier. Not applicable. Fertiliser use is by the farmers farming the land on which the fertiliser is used; not by the supplier. Not applicable. Fertiliser use is by the farmers farming the land on which the fertiliser is used; not by the supplier. In place In place In place In place Not in place. Not proposed. Not in place. Not proposed. Not in place. Not proposed. 11 BAT is managing the landspreading of manure to reduce odour nuisance where neighbours are likely to be affected, by doing in particular all of the following: Spreading during the day when people are less likely to be at home and avoiding weekends and public holidays, and Paying attention to wind direction in relation to neighbouring houses. Not applicable. Fertiliser use is by the farmer farming the land on which the fertiliser is used; Not by the supplier. Not in place; Not proposed. Page 1 of 5 ATTACHMENT No. I.5

7 5.2 Intensive Rearing of pigs Nutritional techniques applied to nitrogen excretion. to apply feeding measures Nutritional techniques applied to phosphorus excretion. to apply feeding measures Housing systems for mating/gestating sows : a fully- or partly-slatted floor with vacuum system for frequent slurry removal (Sections and , or a partly-slatted floor and a reduced manure pit (Section ). 15 Housing systems for mating/gestating sows : Newbuild housing systems with a fully or partly slatted floor and flushing gutters or tube underneath and flushing applied with non-aerated liquid Housing systems for mating/gestating sows : a housing system with manure cooling fins using a closed ystem with heating pumps Housing systems for mating/gestating sows : partly slatted floor system with a manure scraper underneath Housing systems for mating/gestating sows : Newbuild housing systems with a fully or partly slatted floor and flushing gutters or tube underneath and flushing applied with aerated liquid... Applicable through "Phase feeding" and least cost ration formulation Applicable through "Phase feeding" and least cost ration formulation Not available. Not applicable Not available. Not applicable Not available. Not applicable Not available. Not applicable Not available. Not applicable In place In place Not in place. Not proposed. Existing housing is fully slatted over slurry tanks and is BAT for this activity. Frequent slurry removal not an option, particularly during winter. Not in place. Not proposed. Not in place. Not proposed. Not in place. Not proposed. Not in place. Not proposed. 19 Housing systems for mating/gestating sows : littered floors... Not available. Not applicable Not in place. Not proposed Housing systems for growers/finishers: : Not available. Not applicable 1. a fully-slatted floor with a vacuum system for frequent removal (Section ), or 2. a partly-slatted floor with a reduced manure pit, including slanted walls and a vacuum system (Section ), or 3. a partly-slatted floor with a central, convex solid floor or an inclined solid floor at the front of the pen, a manure gutter with slanted sidewalls and a sloped manure pit (Section ). Not proposed. Existing housing is fully slatted like item 1, but over slurry tanks. Frequent slurry removal is not an option, particularly during October to March. 21 Housing systems for growers/finishers: : New build housing systems with a fully or partly slatted floor and flushing gutters or tubes underneath and flushing is applied with non-aerated liquid... Not applicable. Not available. Not in place. Not Proposed Page 2 of 5 ATTACHMENT No. I.5

8 22 Housing systems for growers/finishers: : a housing system with manure surface cooling fins using a closed system with heating pumps Housing systems for growers/finishers: : a partly slatted floow system with a manure scraper underneath Housing systems for growers/finishers: : a fully or partly slatted floor and flushing gutters or tube underneath and flushing applied with non-aerated liquid... Not applicable. Not available. Not applicable. Not available. Not applicable. Not available. Not in place. Not Proposed Not in place. Not Proposed Not in place. Not Proposed 25 Housing systems for growers/finishers: : littered floor, or littered outside alley Housing systems for farrowing sows (including piglets).. a crate with a fully-slatted iron or plastic floor and with (1) a combination of a water and manure channel (Section ), (2) flushing system with manure gutters (Section ), or (3) manure pan underneath (Section ) Housing systems for farrowing sows (including piglets).. a housing system with manure surface cooling fins using a closed system with heating pumps... Not applicable. Not available. Not in place. Not Proposed Option (3) applicable, but a shallow tank instead of a "manure pan". In place is similar to item 3. Change not proposed. Not applicable. Not available. Not in place. Not Proposed Housing systems for farrowing sows (including piglets).. Crates with a partly slatted floor and a manure scraper underneath Not applicable. Not available. Not in place. Not Proposed 29. Housing systems for farrowing sows (including piglets).. Crates Applicable with a partly slatted floor and a reduced manure pit, or Crates with a The system in Place is similar to the system fully slatted floor and a board on a slope 30 Housing systems for farrowing sows (including piglets).. Littered floor Housing systems for weaners: : 1. a pen or flatdeck with a fully-slatted- or partly-slatted floor with a vacuum system for frequent slurry removal (Sections and ), or 2. a pen or flatdeck with a fully-slatted floor beneath which there is a concrete sloped floor to separate faeces & urine (Section ), or 3. with a partly-slatted floor (two-climate system) (Section ), or 4. with a partly-slatted iron or plastic floor and a sloped or convex solid floor (Section ), or 5. with a partly-slatted floor with metal or plastic slats and a shallow manure pit & channel for spoiled drinking water (Section ), or 6. with a partly-slatted floor with triangular iron slats and a manure channel with sloped side walls (Section ). Not applicable. Not available. System in place is similar in practice to Item 5, ( ), but with a fully slatted floor. Other options are not applicable and are not available. In place is similar to Change is not proposed Not in place. Not Proposed In place is similar to item 5. Change is not proposed. Page 3 of 5 ATTACHMENT No. I.5

9 32 Housing systems for weaners: : New-build housing systems with a fully or partly slatted floor and flushing gutters or tube underneath and flushing applied with non-aerated liquid Housing systems for weaners: : a housing system with manure surface cooling fins using a closed system with heating pumps Housing systems for weaners: : Fully slatted or partly slatted floor with manure scraper underneath Not applicable. Not available. Not applicable. Not available. Not applicable. Not available. Not in place. Not proposed Not in place. Not proposed Not in place. Not proposed 35 Housing systems for weaners: : Littered floor Not applicable. Not available. Not in place. Not proposed Water:. to reduce water use by doing all of the following: cleaning animal housing and equipment with high-pressure cleaners at appropriate times. carry out a regular maintenance/calibration of the drinking-water installation to avoid spill. keeping record of water use through metering, and detecting and repairing leakages. Applicable, but not exactly as written in the BREF. Washing "between cycles" is not universally applicable. Measuring / metered "consumption" by the animals is not possible in terms separate from the total water used in the installation. In place but not exactly as written in BREF. Change not proposed. Normal Good Practice is in place. High-pressure washing is in place, and all wash-water is collected in manure tanks. Water used is recorded. The water system is maintained as is necessary Energy. to reduce energy use by application of good farming practice to housing design, and by adequate operation and maintenance of the housing and equipment. Applicable. In place. 38 to reduce energy use by applying natural ventilation where possible applicable In place 39 to reduce energy use by optimising the design of the ventilation system in each mechanically ventilated house to provide good temperature control and to achieve minimum ventilation in winter. 40 to reduce energy use by avoiding resistance in mechanically ventilated houses by frequent inspection and cleaning of ducts & fans. applicable applicable 41 to reduce energy use by applying low energy lighting. applicable In place In place In place Page 4 of 5 ATTACHMENT No. I.5

10 Manure storage.. To design storage for pig manure with sufficient capacity until further treatment or land application can be carried out. 43 for a stack of manure that is always situated in the same place, either on the installation or in the field.... The concept of manure as waste implied by the words is not accepted here as it is managed and transferred as product for use, not for treatment. Manure storage capacity is designed to be compliant with the relevant governing legislation, eg. currently S.I. 31 of Not applicable. Not done. In place is storage capacity which complies with governing legislation. Not proposed. 44 positioning of a temporary stack of pig manure in the field Not applicable. Not done. Not proposed. 45 Storage of slurry in concrete or steel tank comprises all the following: A. A stable tank able to withstand likely mechanical, thermal, and. chemical influences, B. impemeable base and walls protected against corrosion,. C. Emptied regularly for inspection & maintenance, preferably.. annually,. D. double valves used on any valved outlet from the store,. E. slurry is stirred only just before emptying the tank. 46 to cover slurry tanks using either. A. a lid, roof or tent structure, or. B. A floating cover such as straw, natural crust, canvas, foil, expanded clay aggregate (LECA) or expanded polystyrene (EPS) 47 to cover lagoons where slurry is stored using either a plastic cover or a floating cover (eg straw, LECA or natural crust). A, B, D & E Applicable, BUT item C re annual emptying tanks is neither necessary nor possible in practice, and can pose serious risks to health and life of operatives. Not applicable. Not applicable In place,all except for item C. Item C is not in place and is not proposed. Not in place. Not proposed. Not in place. Not proposed On-farm manure processing Not applicable. Processing not done. Not in place. Not proposed Techniques for landspreading pig manure. Not applicable. No landspreading done. Not in place. Not proposed Page 5 of 5 ATTACHMENT No. I.5

11 ATTACHMENT No. L SCREENING REPORT ON APPROPRIATE ASSESSMENT

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16 ANNEX 1 Location of development site

17 SPA National Paries *nd WiklW* Semites Map Viewer - Windows Intem«Explore* ANNEX 2.1 Location of development site In relation to Protected Sites. National Parks and Wildlife Services Map Viewer Natural Heritage -/eas iq found) Proposed Natural Heritage Areas (0 found; Special Areas of Conservation (1 found; Special Protected Aieas \ found) Site Code Site Name River Boyne and River BacKwa * 'SUrt SAC cnal Parks and Wildlife Servkei Map Viewa - Windows Intern* Eiptwer VNorton I P w National Parks and Wildlife Services Map Viewer N SiteoftheActivit) '. National Pwta and WX-

18 SITE SYNOPSIS ANNEX 2.2 Site Synopsis & Conservation Objectives For SAC Site Code (ItPages) SITE NAME: RIVER BOYNE AND RIVER BLACKWATER SITE CODE: This site comprises the freshwater element of the River Boyne as far as the Boyne Aqueduct, the Blackwater as far as Lough Ramor and the Boyne tributaries including the Deel, Stoneyford and Tremblestown Rivers. These riverine stretches drain a considerable area of Meath and Westmeath and smaller areas of Cavan and Louth. The underlying geology is Carboniferous Limestone for the most part with areas of Upper, Lower and Middle well represented. In the vicinity of Kells Silurian Quartzite is present while close to Trim are Carboniferous Shales and Sandstones. There are many large towns adjacent to but not within the site. Towns both small and large, include Slane, Navan, Kells, Trim, Athboy and Ballivor. The site is a candidate SAC selected for alkaline fen and alluvial woodlands, both habitats listed on Annex I of the E.U. Habitats Directive. The site is also selected for the following species listed on Annex II of the same directive - Atlantic Salmon, Otter and River Lamprey. The main areas of alkaline fen are concentrated in the vicinity of Lough Shesk, Freehan Lough and Newtown Lough. The hummocky nature of the local terrain produces frequent springs and seepages which are rich in lime. A series of base-rich marshes have developed in the poorly-drained hollows, generally linked with these three lakes. Open water is usually fringed by Bulrush (Typha latifolid), Common Club-rush (Scirpus lacustris) or Common Reed (Phragmites australis) and this last species also extends shorewards where a dense stand of Great Fen Sedge or Saw Sedge (Cladium mariscus) frequently occurs. This in turn grades into a sedge and grass community (Carex spp., Molinia caeruled) or one dominated by the Black Bogrush (Schoenus nigricans). An alternative direction for the aquatic/terrestrial transition to take is through a floating layer of vegetation. This is normally based on Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) and Marsh cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris). Other species gradually become established on this cover, especially plants tolerant of low nutrient status e.g. bog mosses (Sphagnum spp.). Diversity of plant and animal life is high in the fen and the flora, includes many rarities. The plants of interest include Narrow-leaved Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza traunsteineri), Fen Bedstraw (Galium uliginosum), Cowbane (Cicuta virosa), Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae) and Least Bur-reed (Sparganium minimum). These species tend to be restricted in their distribution in Ireland. Also notable is the abundance of aquatic Stoneworts (Chara spp.) which are characteristic of calcareous wetlands. The rare plant, Round-leaved Wintergreen (Pyrola rotundifolia) occurs around Newtown Lough. This species is listed in the Red Data Book and is protected under the Flora Protection Order, 1999, and this site is its only occurrence in Co. Meath.

19 Wet woodland fringes many stretches of the Boyne. The Boyne River Islands are a small chain of three islands situated 2.5 km west of Drogheda. The islands were formed by the build up of alluvial sediment in this part of the river where water movement is sluggish. All of the islands are covered by dense thickets of wet, Willow (Salix spp.) woodland, with the following species occurring: Osier (S. viminalis), Crack Willow (S. fragilis), White Willow (S. alba), Purple Willow (Salix purpurea) and Grey Willow (S. cinerea). A small area of Alder (Alnus glutinosa) woodland is found on soft ground at the edge of the canal in the north-western section of the islands. Along other stretches of the rivers of the site Grey Willow scrub and pockets of wet woodland dominated by Alder have become established, particularly at the river edge of mature deciduous woodland. Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and Birch (Betula pubescens) are common in the latter and the ground flora is typical of wet woodland with Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Angelica (Angelica sylvestris), Yellow Iris, Horsetail (Equisetum spp.) and occasional tussocks of Greater Tussocksedge (Carex paniculata). The dominant habitat along the edges of the river is freshwater marsh - the following plant species occur commonly here: Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus), Creeping Bent (Agrostis stolonifera), Canary Reed-grass (Phalaris arundinacea), Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre), Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) and Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides). In the wetter areas of the marsh Common Meadow-rue (Thalictrum flavum) is found. In the vicinity of Dowth, Fen Bedstraw (Galium uliginosum), a scarce species mainly confined to marshy areas in the midlands, is common in this vegetation. Swamp Meadow-grass (Poa palustris) is an introduced plant which has spread into the wild (naturalised) along the Boyne approximately 5 km south-west of Slane. It is a rare species which is listed in the Red Data Book and has been recorded among freshwater marsh vegetation on the banks of the Boyne in this site. The only other record for this species in the Republic is from a site in Co. Monaghan. The secondary habitat associated with the marsh is wet grassland and species such as Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea), Silverweed (Potentilla anserina), Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) are well represented. Strawberry Clover (Trifolium fragiferum), a plant generally restricted to coastal locations in Ireland, has been recorded from wet grassland vegetation at Trim. At Rossnaree river bank on the River Boyne, is Round-Fruited Rush (Juncus compressus) found in alluvial pasture, which is generally periodically flooded during the winter months. This rare plant is only found in three counties in Ireland. Along much of the Boyne and along tributary stretches are areas of mature deciduous woodland on the steeper slopes above the floodplain marsh or wet woodland vegetation. Many of these are planted in origin. However the steeper areas of King Williams Glen and Townley Hall wood have been left unmanaged and now have a more natural character. East of Curley Hole the woodland has a natural appearance with few conifers. Broad-leaved species include Oak (Quercus spp.), Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), Willows, Hazel (Corylus avellana), Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Horse chestnut (Aesculus sp.) and the shrubs Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and Elder (Sambucus nigra). South-west of Slane and in Dowth, the addition of some more exotic tree species such

20 as Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra), Beech (Fagus sylvatica), and occasionally Lime (Tilia cordata), are seen. Coniferous trees, Larch (Larix sp.) and Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) also occur. The woodland ground flora includes Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis), Enchanter s Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) and Ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), along with a range of ferns. Variation occurs in the composition of the canopy, for example, in wet patches alongside the river, White Willow and Alder form the canopy. Other habitats present along the Boyne and Blackwater include lowland dry grassland, improved grassland, reedswamp, weedy wasteground areas, scrub, hedge, drainage ditches and canal. In the vicinity of Lough Shesk, the dry slopes of the morainic hummocks support grassland vegetation which, in some places, is partially colonised by Gorse (Ulex europaeus) scrub. Those grasslands which remain unimproved for pasture are species-rich with Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra), Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense) and Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) commonly present. Fringing the canal alongside the Boyne south-west of Slane, are Reed Sweet-grass (Glyceria maxima), Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) and Meadowsweet. The Boyne and its tributaries is one of Ireland s premier game fisheries and it offers a wide range of angling from fishing for spring salmon and grilse to seatrout fishing and extensive brown trout fishing. Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) use the tributaries and headwaters as spawning grounds. Although this species is still fished commercially in Ireland, it is considered to be endangered or locally threatened elsewhere in Europe and is listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive. Atlantic Salmon run the Boyne almost every month of the year. The Boyne is most important as it represents an eastern river which holds large three-sea-winter fish from lb. These fish generally arrive in February with smaller spring fish (10 lb) arriving in April/May. The grilse come in July, water permitting. The river gets a further run of fish in late August and this run would appear to last well after the fishing season. The salmon fishing season lasts from 1 st March to 30 th September. The Blackwater is a medium sized limestone river which is still recovering from the effects of the arterial drainage scheme of the 70 s. Salmon stocks have not recovered to the numbers pre drainage. The Deel, Riverstown, Stoneyford and Tremblestown Rivers are all spring fed with a continuous high volume of water. They are difficult to fish in that some are overgrown while others have been affected by drainage with the resulting high banks. The site is also important for the populations of two other species listed on Annex II of the E.U. Habitats Directive, namely River Lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis) which is present in the lower reaches of the Boyne River while the Otter (Lutra lutra) can be found throughout the site. In addition, the site also supports many more of the mammal species occurring in Ireland. Those which are listed in the Irish Red Data Book include Pine Marten, Badger and Irish Hare. Common Frog, another Red Data Book species, also occurs within the site. All of these animals with the addition of the Stoat and Red Squirrel, which also occur within the site, are protected under the Wildlife Act.

21 Whooper Swans winter regularly at several locations along the Boyne and Blackwater Rivers. Parts of these areas are within the csac site. Known sites are at Newgrange (c. 20 in recent winters), near Slane (20+ in recent winters), Wilkinstown (several records of 100+) and River Blackwater from Kells to Navan (104 at Kells in winter 1996/97, 182 at Headfort in winter 1997/98, in winter 1999/00). The available information indicates that there is a regular wintering population of Whooper Swans based along the Boyne and Blackwater River valleys. The birds use a range of feeding sites but roosting sites are not well known. The population is substantial, certainly of national, and at times international, importance. Numbers are probably in the low hundreds. Intensive agriculture is the main landuse along the site. Much of the grassland is in very large fields and is improved. Silage harvesting is carried out. The spreading of slurry and fertiliser poses a threat to the water quality of this salmonid river and to the lakes. In the more extensive agricultural areas sheep grazing is carried out. Fishing is a main tourist attraction on the Boyne and Blackwater and there are a number of Angler Associations, some with a number of beats. Fishing stands and styles have been erected in places. The Eastern Regional Fishery Board have erected fencing along selected stretches of the river as part of their salmonid enhancement programme. Parts of the river system have been arterially dredged. In 1969 an arterial dredging scheme commenced and disrupted angling for 18 years. The dredging altered the character of the river completely and resulted in many cases in leaving very high banks. The main channel from Drogheda upstream to Navan was left untouched, as were a few stretches on the Blackwater. Ongoing maintenance dredging is carried out along stretches of the river system where the gradient is low. This is extremely destructive to salmonid habitat in the area. Drainage of the adjacent river systems also impacts on the many small wetland areas throughout the site. The River Boyne is a designated Salmonid Water under the EU Freshwater Fish Directive. The site supports populations of several species listed on Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive, and habitats listed on Annex I of this directive, as well as examples of other important habitats. Although the wet woodland areas appear small there are few similar examples of this type of alluvial wet woodland remaining in the country, particularly in the north-east. The semi-natural habitats, particularly the strips of woodland which extend along the river banks and the marsh and wet grasslands, increase the overall habitat diversity and add to the ecological value of the site as does the presence of a range of Red Data Book plant and animal species and the presence of nationally rare plant species

22 18 July 2011 Generic Conservation Objective Conservation Objectives for River Boyne and River Blackwater SAC [002299] Start The overall aim of the Habitats Directive is to maintain or restore the favourable conservation status of habitats and species of community interest. These habitats and species are listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives and Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas are designated to afford protection to the most vulnerable of them. These two designations are collectively known as the Natura 2000 network. European and national legislation places a collective obligation on Ireland and its citizens to maintain habitats and species in the Natura 2000 network at favourable conservation condition. The Government and its agencies are responsible for the implementation and enforcement of regulations that will ensure the ecological integrity of these sites. The maintenance of habitats and species within Natura 2000 sites at favourable conservation condition will contribute to the overall maintenance of favourable conservation status of those habitats and species at a national level. Favourable conservation status of a habitat is achieved when: its natural range, and area 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. The favourable conservation status of a species is achieved when: population dynamics data on the species concerned indicate that it is maintaining itself on a long term basis as a viable component of its natural habitats, and the natural range of the species is neither being reduced nor is likely to be reduced for the foreseeable future, and there is, and will probably continue to be, a sufficiently large habitat to maintain its populations on a long term basis. Objective: To maintain or restore the favourable conservation condition of the Annex I habitat(s) and/or the Annex II species for which the SAC has been selected: [1099] Lampetra fluviatilis [1106] Salmo salar (only in fresh water) [1355] Lutra lutra [7230] Alkaline fens [91E0] * Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae) Citation: NPWS (2011) Conservation objectives for River Boyne and River Blackwater SAC [002299]. Generic Version 3.0. Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht. For more information please go to:

23 Site code: IE Start Form NF Site code: NATURA 2000 STANDARD DATA FORM FOR SPECIAL PROTECTION AREAS (SPA) FOR SITES ELIGIBLE FOR IDENTIFICATION AS SITES OF COMMUNITY IMPORTANCE (SCI) AND FOR SPECIAL AREAS OF CONSERVATION (SAC) 1

24 Site code: IE SITE IDENTIFICATION 1.1. TYPE 1.2. SITE CODE 1.3. COMPILATION DATE 1.4. UPDATE B IE RELATION WITH OTHER NATURA 2000 SITES: 1.6. RESPONDENT(S): National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. 7 Ely Place, Dublin 2, Ireland SITE NAME: River Boyne and River Blackwater 1.8. SITE INDICATION AND DESIGNATION/CLASSIFICATION DATES: DATE SITE PROPOSED AS ELIGIBLE AS SCI: DATE CONFIRMED AS SCI: DATE SITE CLASSIFIED AS SPA: DATE SITE DESIGNATED AS SAC: 2

25 Site code: IE SITE LOCATION 2.1. SITE CENTRE LOCATION LONGITUDE LATITUDE W W/E (Greenwich) 2.2. AREA (HA): 2.3. SITE LENGTH (KM): ALTITUDE (M): MINIMUM MAXIMUM MEAN ADMINISTRATIVE REGION: NUTS CODE REGION NAME % COVER IE011 Border 2 IE012 Midland 8 IE022 Mid-East BIOGEOGRAPHIC REGION: Alpine Atlantic Boreal Continental Macaronesian Mediterranean 3

26 Site code: IE ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION 3.1. HABITAT types present on the site and assessment for them: ANNEX I HABITAT TYPES: CODE %COVER REPRESENTATIVITY RELATIVE SURFACE CONSERVATION STATUS GLOBAL ASSESSMENT 91e0 1 B B B B B C B B 4

27 Site code: IE SPECIES covered by Article 4 of Directive 79/409/EEC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site assessment for them 5

28 Site code: IE a. BIRDS listed on Annex I of Council directive 79/409/EEC CODE NAME POPULATION SITE ASSESSMENT Resident Migratory Population Conservation Isolation Breed Winter Stage A038 Cygnus cygnus i C B C 3.2.b. Regularly occuring Migratory Birds not listed on Annex I of Council directive 79/409/EEC 3.2.c. MAMMALS listed on Annex II of Council directive 92/43/EEC CODE NAME POPULATION SITE ASSESSMENT Resident Migratory Population Conservation Isolation Breed Winter Stage 1355 Lutra lutra p C A C A 3.2.d. AMPHIBIANS and REPTILES listed on Annex II of Council directive 92/43/EEC 3.2.e. FISHES listed on Annex II of Council directive 92/43/EEC CODE NAME POPULATION SITE ASSESSMENT Resident Migratory Population Conservation Isolation Breed Winter Stage 1106 Salmo salar c C B C 1099 Lampetra p C B C fluviatilis 6

29 Site code: IE f. INVERTEBRATES listed on Annex II of Council directive 92/43/EEC 3.2.g. PLANTS listed on Annex II of Council directive 92/43/EEC 7

30 Site code: IE Other Important Species of Flora and Fauna GROUP B M A R F I P SCIENTIFIC NAME POPULATION MOTIVATION P Juncus compressus p A P Poa palustris p A P Pyrola rotundifolia p A A Rana temporaria p A A Rana temporaria p C M Lepus timidus hibernicus p A M Lepus timidus hibernicus p B M Lepus timidus hibernicus p C M Martes martes p A M Martes martes p C M Meles meles p A M Meles meles p C M Mustela erminea hibernica p B M Mustela erminea hibernica p C P Dactylorhiza traunsteineri p D (B = Birds, M = Mammals, A = Amphibians, R = Reptiles, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, P = Plants) 8

31 Site code: IE SITE DESCRIPTION 4.1. GENERAL SITE CHARACTER: Habitat classes % cover Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including 1 saltwork basins) Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) 30 Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens 12 Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana 4 Dry grassland, Steppes 1 Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland 10 Extensive cereal cultures (including Rotation cultures with regular 8 fallowing) Improved grassland 22 Other arable land 1 Broad-leaved deciduous woodland 2 Mixed woodland 7 Artificial forest monoculture (e.g. Plantations of poplar or Exotic 1 trees) Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, 1 Industrial sites) Total habitat cover 100 % Other site characteristics This site comprises most of the freshwater element of the River Boyne from upriver of the Boyne Aqueduct at Drogheda, the Blackwater River as far as Lough Ramor and the principal Boyne tributaries, notably the Deel, Stoneyford and Tremblestown Rivers. This system drains a considerable area of Cos. Meath and Westmeath and smaller areas of Cavan and Louth. The underlying geology is Carboniferous Limestone for the most part with areas of Upper, Lower and Middle well represented. In the vicinity of Kells Silurian Quartzite is present while close to Trim are Carboniferous Shales and Sandstones. The rivers flow through a landscape dominated by intensive agriculture, mostly of improved grassland but also cereals. Much of the river channels were subject to arterial drainage schemes in the past. Natural flood-plains now exist along only limited stretches of river, though often there is a fringe of reed swamp, freshwater marsh, wet grassland or deciduous wet woodland. Along some parts, notably between Drogheda and Slane, are stands of tall, mature mixed woodland. Substantial areas of improved grassland and arable land are included in site for water quality reasons. There are many medium to large sized towns adjacent to but not within the site QUALITY AND IMPORTANCE: The main channel of the Boyne contains a good example of alluvial woodland of the Salicetum albo-fragilis type which has developed on three alluvium islands. Alkaline fen vegetation is well represented at Lough Shesk, where there is a very fine example of habitat succession from open water to raised bog. The Boyne and its tributaries is one of Ireland's premier game fisheries and offers a wide range of angling, from fishing for spring salmon and grilse to sea trout fishing and extensive brown trout fishing. The site is one of the most important in eastern Ireland for Salmo salar and has very extensive spawning grounds. The site also has an important population of Lampetra fluviatilis, though the distribution or abundance of this species is not well known. Lutra lutra is widespread throughout the site. Some of the grassland areas along the Boyne and Blackwater are used by a nationally important winter flock of Cygnus cygnus. 9

32 Site code: IE Several Red Data Book plants occur within the site, with Pyrola rotundifolia, Poa palustris and Juncus compressus. Also occurring are a number of Red Data Book animals, notably Meles meles, Martes martes and Rana temporaria. The River Boyne is a designated Salmonid Water under the EU Freshwater Fish Directive VULNERABILITY Main threats to the ecological interests of this site are further drainage schemes and water pollution. In the past, where drainage occurred it altered the character of the river and removed natural bankside structure and vegetation. Ongoing maintenance dredging is carried out along stretches of the river system where the gradient is low. This can be extremely destructive to salmonid habitat. Drainage also impacts on the many small wetland areas throughout the site. Water quality is impaired in parts of the system through agricultural runoff and inputs from domestic and industrial sources. A reduction in the input of pollutants to the system is required to preserve the important aquatic interests in this site SITE DESIGNATION: 4.5. OWNERSHIP Private : multiple State 4.6. DOCUMENTATION Bracken, J. J. and O'Grady, M. E. (1992). A review of freshwater fisheries research in Ireland. In Feehan, J. (ed.) Environment and Development in Ireland, pp The Environmental Institute, UCD, Dublin. Central Fisheries Board Irish Salmon Catches February Central Fisheries Board Irish Salmon Catches. January Doris, Y., McGarrigle, M.L., Clabby, K.J., Lucey, J., Neill, M., Flanagan, M., Quinn, M.B., Sugrue, M. and Lehane, M. (1999). Water quality in Ireland Statistical Compendium of River Quality Data. Electronic Publication on Disk. Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford. Doris, Y., Clabby, K.J., Lucey and Lehane, M. (2002). Water Quality in Ireland Statistical Compendium of River Quality Data. Electronic Publication on Disk. Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford. Fahy, E. (1971). A Preliminary Report on Areas of Scientific Interest in County Louth. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin. Farrell, L. (1972). A Preliminary Report on Areas of Scientific Interest in County Cavan. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin. Goodwillie, R. (1971). A Preliminary Report on Areas of Scientific Interest in County Westmeath. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin. Goodwillie, R. (1975). The Ecological Importance of Lough Shesk, Co. Meath. Unpublished Report. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin. Kelly, D.L. and Iremonger, S.F. (1997). Irish wetland woods: the plant communities and their ecology. Biology and the Environment, Proceedings of the 10

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