Parks and Wildlife order sand dune works to stop

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By TADHG EVANS

THE Depart­ment of the Cul­ture, Her­itage and the Gaeltacht is con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate the re­moval of sand from dunes in Castle­gre­gory, a spokesper­son told The Ker­ry­man last week.

Dig­gers and trac­tors were seen re­mov­ing a large quan­tity of sand south of Castle­gre­gory beach and the Ma­ha­rees tombolo. The sand dunes af­fected by the op­er­a­tion are part of the Tralee Bay and Ma­ha­rees Penin­sula West to Cloghane Special Area of Con­ser­va­tion.

The Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice moved to stop the works when it came to their at­ten­tion.

A spokesper­son for the Depart­ment of Cul­ture, Her­itage and the Gaeltacht out­lined the law pro­tect­ing special ar­eas of con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion:

“Un­der the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ties (Birds and Nat­u­ral Habi­tats) Reg­u­la­tions 2011, it is an of­fence for a per­son, with­out law­ful au­thor­ity, to carry out an ac­tiv­ity that may have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on, or ad­versely af­fect, the in­tegrity of a Euro­pean site (Special Area of Con­ser­va­tion or Special Pro­tec­tion Area).

“Un­der the 2011 Reg­u­la­tions, a per­son who com­mits such an of­fence is li­able (i) on sum­mary con­vic­tion, to the im­po­si­tion of a Class A fine or im­pris­on­ment of up to six months or both and (ii) on con­vic­tion on in­dict­ment, to the im­po­si­tion of a fine of up to €500,000 or im­pris­on­ment of up to three years or both,” they said.

They ex­plained that, “the sand dunes at Castle­gre­gory Beach form part of the Special Area of Con­ser­va­tion ‘Tralee Bay and Magha­rees Penin­sula, West to Cloghane”.

“On Novem­ber 3 last, the Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice of the Depart­ment of Cul­ture, Her­itage and the Gaeltacht had or­dered that work in­volv­ing the re­moval of sand from this Special Area of Con­ser­va­tion be stopped. The mat­ter con­tin­ues to be in­ves­ti­gated by the Depart­ment in con­junc­tion with other rel­e­vant State agen­cies,” they added.

Kerry County Coun­cil also re­sponded to the sand-re­moval op­er­a­tion - dis­patch­ing staff to the site to ‘as­sess’ the sit­u­a­tion.

In a state­ment re­leased to The Ker­ry­man on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 2, a spokesper­son said: “We re­ceived com­plaints over the week­end. We have sent staff to the area to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion... the OPW has also sent staff to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion. KCC are cur­rently in con­tact with the OPW to estab­lish the area of re­spon­si­bil­ity,” they said.

A mem­ber of the Ma­ha­rees Con­ser­va­tion Group de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter to The Ker­ry­man.

The sand dune op­er­a­tion near Castle­gre­gory which was stopped by the Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice.

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