TO celebrate World Environment Day last Saturday, Irish Water has launched its biodiversity action plan which sets out a national programme of measures to protect and enhance Ireland’s biodiversity.
Commenting on the publication of the plan, David Fallon, ecologist with Irish Water, explained: “We recognise the need to increase and accelerate efforts our efforts as a utility to halt the decline of biodiversity and we are committed to ensuring that we build and manage our infrastructure responsibly so that our ecosystems are protected, and where possible enhanced.”
Irish Water has already begun its transition towards biodiversity protection and improvement across many of its sites, with wildflower meadows growing at Castlebar reservoirs in Mayo and Luimnagh water treatment plant in Galway.
Over the last number of months, the ecology team has been working in partnership with Mayo County Council on biodiversity enhancement measures.
Speaking about the new plan, Patsy McNulty, head of water services, Mayo County Council, commented: “There are treatment plants in almost every town and village in the county, spanning a wide range of natural habitats and it’s our responsibility to protect these healthy ecosystems that benefit us all. By working responsibly, we can all play our part to halt the decline of Ireland’s rich biodiversity.”
Pat Gallagher, senior executive technician at Swinford wastewater treatment plant, added: “Grassland management and nest boxes are just some of the proactive biodiversity measures which we have already implemented on site at Swinford wastewater treatment plant. We are also in the process of looking at locating a bee hive on this site too.
“All of these measures not only reduce maintenance costs but also promote and enhance local biodiversity.”
The biodiversity action plan sets out Irish Water’s plans to help conserve, enhance and work with the natural environment as well as the strategic aims and the actions which will be undertaken to achieve them. The seven key objectives which can be implemented immediately include:
• Measures at all Irish Water sites that will enhance and protect biodiversity
• Raising awareness and provide educational supports in relation to biodiversity
• Ensure ‘no nett loss; of biodiversity when carrying out activities or delivering plans across its sites
• Implementing actions from the All Ireland Pollinator Plan across all Irish Water sites to support and increase our pollinator population
• Promoting the use of nature-based solutions for water protection and wastewater treatment
• Managing invasive alien species on Irish Water sites
• Collaborating with key internal and external stakeholders and the wider community, in protecting and enhancing biodiversity