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Clonlara light plan delayed over presence of bats

CLARE County Council has swooped to delay a decision on providing street lighting on a gravel walkway in Clonlara due to the presence of bats.
Plans for the provision of conduct street lighting over the entire length of Clonlara GAA Club’s gravel walkway and associated site works were submitted to the local planning authority recently.
These plans are now on hold after the club was asked to hire an ecologist to prepare a detailed site layout plan to ensure it provides minimal disturbance to bat species.
In a recent letter to the club, the local planning authority stated the information submitted with this application is insufficient to enable it to make a complete planning assessment of this proposal.
In order to proceed with the application, the authority requested further information and revised plans.
“Very limited detail has been submitted as regards the proposal to construct street lighting over the entire length of this gravel walkway and all associated site works. This area is also noted to be of importance in terms of bat species.”
The authority has asked the club to submit a detailed proposed site layout plan to show the exact proposed locations of the lighting structures and the exact number and type of lights that it is intended to install.
It stipulated that all proposed lighting must be of a form and design that limits potential for impact on bat species.
The lighting should be designed in accordance with the Bats’ Conservation Ireland document “Guidelines for Lighting Guidance Notes for Planners, Engineers, Architects and Developers”, which outlines the requirements in terms of bats and lighting.
In particular, the lighting should be designed with the view of obtaining a low negative impact through the use of narrow spectrum lights with no UV content, low pressure sodium and warm white LED bulbs together with directional down lights, which illuminate below the horizontal plane that avoided trespass into the environment.
“Given the surrounding area is identified as having a high habitat suitability for bats, light spillage onto the adjoining lands should be avoided,” the Council stated.
“Consideration should be given to the use of directional and or sensor lighting, which can be used to prevent overspill.
“Lighting accessories, such as hoods, cowls, louvers and shields, to direct the light to the intended areas only should also be considered.”
The club must engage the services of an ecologist in the preparation of the detailed proposed site layout plan and an ecological statement for the proposed public lighting in order to ensure that the proposed lighting is of a design and form that provides for minimal disturbance to bat species.
It must also submit detailed elevation drawings of the proposed lighting structures at an appropriate scale. Lighting design should be in accordance with BSS479-1: 2013 and IS EN13201-2 2015 and national rules for electrical installations.
Full details of the proposed lighting including wattage must be submitted to the planning authority.
The club retained Michael Begley Planning Services, Clonlara, to make a planning application on its behalf.
According to planning documents, the area of the site to which the application relates in hectares is 3.27 hectares.

by Dan Danaher

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