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Pipeline blasts will destroy rare bird colony, says FIE


A PROTECTED bird habitat is in danger of being destroyed if offshore work on the controversial Corrib gas pipeline off Mayo goes ahead, an environmental protection group warned last night.
Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) claims that controlled blast explosions to be carried out as part of the construction of an offshore pipeline trench in Broadhaven Bay, Co Mayo, will destroy the habitat of a colony of rare sand martins.
The group is claiming that the sand martin nesting colony lies at the exact point where the Broadhaven Bay pipeline meets the foreshore. And the environmentalists claim that a trial trench has already disturbed the habitat. Group spokesman Tony Lowes said the proposed controlled blasts would result in the complete destruction of the habitat as well as all birds.
Last week the €1bn Corrib gas pipeline suffered a serious setback when An Bord Pleanala warned that it would pose an unacceptable risk to public safety.
The board, which is considering the findings of a public inquiry and appeal, has written to developers Enterprise Energy expressing serious concern over the safety risk to local homes from the proposed terminal. It has asked the developers to respond.
Offshore work is not affected by the planning board's ruling and a spokesman for Enterprise Energy said work would go ahead offshore.
However, the company has rejected claims that the bird colony would be endangered.
'The statement that the proposed controlled blast techniques will result in any destruction of the habitat, as well as all live adults and young birds, is totally untrue,' said a spokesman for Enterprise Energy in a statement.
Kathy Donaghy and Treacy Hogan© Irish Independent

Posted Date: 
5 July 2005 - 9:21am