Celtic tiger phenomenon bad for biodiversity

The rapid growth of construction, tourism and the business sector in Ireland is threatening the country's wildlife and countryside, according to the Environment Minister.

John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government has called on all three areas to do their bit to help conserve Irish habitats.

The request coincides with the publication of a separate guide for each of the three sectors.

"Much of our biodiversity is and can be damaged due to the location or activity of different types of business, by tourism activities and the various stages of construction," said Mr Gormley.

"These guidelines offer simple steps that individual businesses and organisations can and should take to limit the damage done to their surrounding environment and to enhance the wildlife that flourishes there.''

He said the guidance was as relevant to family firms as it was to multinational corporations.

"These guidelines are not just about long-term planning and strategy," said the Minister.

"Right now, today, every business in Ireland could do something to protect our biodiversity through examining and amending the management practices on their sites and in their operations. Some simple steps can play a significant role in promoting the protection of local wildlife.

"Everybody is a winner when the business, construction and tourism sectors protect our natural environment and follow a Biodiversity Action Plan.

"As well as improving an organisation's public relations and fulfilling its corporate social responsibility, the whole community and country benefits with a better quality of life."

Action recommended by the plans includes:

  • Consider biodiversity during each phase of construction, from project conception, design and planning right through to construction and landscaping.

  • Avoid removing trees and hedges and consider if they can instead be incorporated into the development or moved.

  • Evaluate operations and activities such as procurement policies, to consider possible impacts on biodiversity

  • Think about how the business is impacting on the local environment, such as surrounding rivers, lakes, sea, forests, green spaces and take action to ensure that you do not pollute or adversely affect your surroundings
  • Know where waste and recycling is being taken to for disposal and ensure that it is legally disposed of.

  • When landscaping and planting trees and shrubs, make sure they are native - a native oak tree growing in Ireland can support about 290 different species of plants, animals, birds and insects for food and shelter while foreign plants generally support far fewer species

    Sam Bond

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