Shannon Airport Group Biodiversity Action Plan
In 2022, Shannon Airport Group commissioned a Biodiversity Action Plan which aimed to assess the entire airport and commercial property lands and identify areas where habitats could be created and enhanced. A team of ecologists from Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants developed the plan, liaising closely with the Sustainability Team at Shannon Airport Group throughout the process.
A series of field surveys were carried out by Flynn Furney in July and September 2022, across Shannon Airport Group lands at Shannon, Co. Clare. Detailed desk studies and consultation with various stakeholders were also undertaken during this period, including the airport ornithologist, representatives from the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), Birdwatch Ireland and the Heritage Office of Clare County Council. The ecologists were tasked with balancing biodiversity enhancement and airport safety conerns throughout the process.
Shannon Airport lies in a unique and beautiful location on the Shannon Estuary, County Clare. The array of flora and fauna in the area is particularly rich, notably in relation to the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and River Shannon and River Fergus Estuaries Special Protection Area (SPA). Boundary areas between the airport lands and estuary contain Atlantic salt marshes and mudflats, which are in themselves important ecological habitats. The lands north of the SAC boundary also contain pockets of semi-natural and species-rich calcareous grasslands, which continue to be under threat nationally. Outside of the protected areas, there is also an extensive network of native hedgerows, scrub, small wetlands and wooded areas across the Shannon Airport Group lands, which each have their own ecological importance.
This was an ambitious but worthwhile project that aimed to record, highlight, conserve and enhance the rich array of habitats present across Shannon Airport Group lands and commercial properties. Timelines and targets were developed for enhancing specific areas for the period 2023-2027, using an ambitious but practical approach. The full biodiversity action plan can be viewed on the Shannon Airport Group website here.