Natural and Built Heritage
2.5.1 Natural Heritage
As part of the preparation for this plan, a habitat assessment was carried out by a team of ecological consultants (see Appendix 1). The study mapped all of the habitats within the plan area, rated habitats based on their ecological merit and connectivity to habitats of high ecological value, identified green infrastructure and surveyed and evaluated hedgerows.
Based on the findings of the habitat assessment, and in line with the County Development Plan, policies and objectives have been formulated for the protection and enhancement of habitats in the plan area, with particular emphasis placed on those habitats and ecological corridors of highest ecological value. It is the policy of this plan that development proposals will demonstrated how all habitats will be conserved. Habitats of highest value are illustrated on Map 2; specific objectives have been formulated in relation to the protection of these most significant habitats.
The habitat assessment was carried out as part of the survey work for this plan using a ‘Green Infrastructure’ approach to describe biodiversity, based on the identification of habitats and their interconnected relationship within ecological networks. The more natural and connected a habitat, the more important it is as Green Infrastructure. A detailed hedgerow survey was also carried out.
The principle natural heritage resource within the LAP area is the Lower River Suir, a designated candidate Special Area of Conservation under EU legislation and Fiddown Island
Nature Reserve, a proposed Natural Heritage Area, protected under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 and also by Ministerial Order. Substantial areas of high biodiversity value are found outside the existing network of designated sites, and whilst not protected under legislation, they contribute to the biodiversity of the area.
22.214.171.124 Designated Natural Heritage Sites of International and National Importance
The principle and most important ecological network in Fiddown is associated with the River Suir and Fiddown Island.
The Lower River Suir, which forms the southern boundary of the village is a designated candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) under the EU Habitats Directive (site code 002137), with the objective to conserve habitats and species of European importance. The site was selected for the presence of the priority habitats on Annex I and Annex II of the E.U. Habitats Directive. Policies for the protection of heritage sites of national and European importance are set out in the County Development Plan. An appropriate environmental assessment is required in relation to any proposals where there may be significant impacts on the cSAC; this extends to works outside of the defined designated site boundaries but which may be linked to the cSAC through ecological pathways or corridors.
Fiddown Island Nature Reserve, which is also a proposed Natural Heritage Area (site code 000402), is situated to the south of the village, and is the property of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The site consists of an island on the tidal reaches of the River Suir, a band of land on both sides of the river and a small stretch of tidal river and mudflats. This site is of national importance for its botanical assemblages and habitat rarity.
It is an objective of this plan that an appropriate environmental assessment will be required in respect of any proposed development likely to have an impact on a designated natural heritage site, or those sites proposed to be designated.
The River Suir supports migrating Atlantic salmon and Twaite shad, which may very well be resident in the area and migrate upstream to spawn in the Carrick-on-Suir area. These latter two species are internationally protected. It is also likely to be significant for resident smelt and ‘slob’ or estuarine trout. Riparian habitats appear to be well established on the southern bank and on Fiddown Island.
Riparian (riverside) woodland forms a narrow band along the banks of the River Suir where water levels fluctuate with tidal movements and within the floodplain. As well as the tidal river, the riparian woodland is of particular significance for biodiversity. This type of wet woodland along rivers is rare in Ireland and the example found at Fiddown is one of the best in the country; this type of woodland is declining across Europe as a result of drainage and reclamation.
Map 2 outlines areas for protection of habitats – area FD1 based around the River Suir and its associated wetlands extends to included adjacent dry meadow grassland, amenity area, hedgerow and built lands – some of which are within the cSAC and others are considered as nature rehabilitation areas, because they have the potential to be managed more favourably for nature and amenity. Protection of the river corridor is a priority of this plan and all development must ensure that water quality is protected.
H1 – To protect and, where possible, enhance the River Suir, cSAC and Fiddown Island pNHA, and its associated ecological corridors and habitats, as identified on Map 2.
An appropriate environmental assessment is required in relation to any proposals that may impact upon the cSAC and pNHA, either through direct or indirect means; this extends to works outside of the defined boundaries of FD1; this should include a survey or protected species where appropriate.
Any development which could affect water quality, riparian habitats or species found in the Lower River Suir should be screened for Appropriate Assessment for its potential impact on the candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC) in accordance with Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive, and having regard to the Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Project in Ireland – Guidance for Planning Authorities (DoEHLG, 2009).
126.96.36.199 Nature Conservation Outside of Designated Sites
In addition to the designated sites, there are habitats within the LAP boundary, whilst not protected under legislation, contribute to the biodiversity of the area and are of local nature conservation interest.
Habitats and landscape features have an important role to play as ecological “corridors” as they allow for the movement of species, and help to sustain the habitats, ecological processes and functions necessary to enhance and maintain biodiversity. It is important that these areas are conserved and well managed.
H2 – Proposals for development shall demonstrate how habitats (such as trees, hedgerows, ditches, stonewalls, stone-buildings and watercourses) will be integrated and protected during and post-construction; links to wildlife areas beyond the site should be formed where possible.
188.8.131.52 Habitats of Ecological Significance
Habitats within the LAP area enhance the ecological value of the area and should be protected and enhanced where possible. However there are a number of habitats of significant ecological value, due to the species contained therein and/ or due to their function as an ecological network, which have specific policies for their conservation. These habitats have been shown on Map 2. This LAP seeks to retain, protect and enhance these habitats due to their significant ecological contribution to the area. Proposals for development of these sites should demonstrate that they will not adversely affect the ecological integrity of these sites.
(Chapter 8 of the County Development Plan 2008-2014 also applies):
- H3 – To ensure that any development in or near sites of local conservation interest, as identified in Table 3 of Appendix 1, will minimise any significant adverse impact on the features for which the site has been designated.
- H4 – Applicants shall demonstrate that there will be no adverse impacts on the ecological integrity of sites of high ecological value identified in this plan from developments on adjacent sites.
FD2 – Graveyard and Associated Areas
The graveyard associated with the chapel to the south of the village and adjacent scrub habitat form a small core feature of dry meadow and grassy verge habitat, which links into the village and the wider countryside to the east along the stone wall/ scrub corridor bordering the road and leading to the railway, while the tree-line to the south provides the closest link to the River Suir corridor. The old stone wall that forms a continuous boundary from the railway junction in the village as far as Fiddown house, encompassing the old church and graveyard supports plants, including ivy and navelwort.
H5 – To protect and, where possible, enhance the habitat in the graveyard and its associated habitats extending to the railway and towards Fiddown House, as identified on Map 2. An ecological assessment will be required in order to assess the impact of any development within or adjacent to this area.
A number of hedgerows were identified as being of high local value having regard to a number of factors including biodiversity, cultural value and connectivity value. These hedgerows are identified on Map 2 for retention and enhancement as they contribute significantly to biodiversity in the area.
H6 – To require details for the sustainable integration and conservation of hedgerows of high value as identified on Map 2 in all development proposals to ensure that the ecological integrity and connectivity of the hedgerow is maintained during and after construction.
The Record of Monuments and Places (RPM) of County Kilkenny identifies archaeological sites throughout the county. These recorded monuments are protected under the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994.
There are a number of archaeological sites in the vicinity of Fiddown, as identified in the Record of Monuments and Places for County Kilkenny. These monuments are concentrated within an area extending from the church and graveyard westwards along Strand Road, west of the site of Fiddown Castle and south towards the River Suir.
It is the policy of the Council to require an appropriate archaeological assessment to be carried out in respect of any proposed development likely to have an impact on a Recorded Monument, a Zone or Archaeological Potential or their setting. Policies for the protection of archaeological heritage are set out in Chapter 8: Heritage of the County Development Plan 2008.
Table 1 lists the Recorded Monuments in Fiddown, together with their reference number. A number of these monuments are clustered together at the chapel and graveyard. The location of Recorded Monuments are shown on Map 3.
Table 1: Recorded Monuments in Fiddown
|RMP Number & Classification||RMP Number & Classification|
|KK042-001001 – Castle-Motte||KK042-001005 – Grave-slab|
|KK042-001002 – Castle – Tower House||KK042-001006 – Architectural Fragment|
|KK042-001 — – Settlement Deserted||KK042-001008 – Font (original location)|
|KK042-001003 – Church||KK042-001009 – Graveyard|
|KK042-001004 – Tomb-Altar||KK042-001010 – Tomb-Altar|
Source: National Monuments Service – www.archaeology.ie
2.5.3 Built Heritage
Fiddown has a unique historical character, with many features worthy of preservation and protection, particularly in the south and east areas of the village that experienced early historic development. An assessment has been carried out during the preparation of this plan, with a view to revising the Record of Protected Structures (RPS). It is the policy of the Council to consider the Ministerial recommendation to include in the Record of Protected Structures, structures which have been identified as being of Regional, National or International significance in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage survey (NIAH) 2006; this may lead to the inclusion of additional structures in the RPS. The proposed additions to the list of Protected Structures are listed in Table 2 together with existing protected structures, and are indicated on Map 3. These buildings, their setting and form add to the historical and visual context of the village, and are a valuable cultural contribution to the village.
Alterations which would affected the character of a protected structure will require planning permission and should be the subject of early consultation with Kilkenny County Council’s Conservation Officer and/or the Architectural Heritage Advisory Unit of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Generally, all repair and maintenance works should be carried out on a ‘like for like’ basis and in accordance with the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines 2004, published by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
In general, new development should relate closely to the established character of the village, respecting the disciplines of established building form, massing, height, alignment, orientation and window proportions.
The stone walls throughout the village contribute significantly to the historic character and setting of the village, and should be protected, repaired and incorporated into future developments wherever possible. Of particular merit is the stone wall leading from the railway to Fiddown House. The wall at the roadside boundary of the chapel is under considerable stress from erosion and impacts of traffic, and as previously mentioned in the plan, action needs to be taken to prevent further deterioration in its condition and structural integrity (see objective T3).
- H7 – To protect and enhance the historic character of Fiddown, and to preserve the character of the village, with control of shopfronts and advertising.
- H8 – To encourage the conservation of stone walls throughout the village and in particular the stone wall leading from the railway station to Fiddown House.
H9 – To seek the conservation of the buildings included in the Record of Protected Structures & listed in the NIAH, and to consider NIAH structures rated regional or above for inclusion in the Record of Protected Structures.
Table 2 – Existing and Proposed Additions to the Record of Protected Structures
Note: Items with an RPS number are existing Protected Structures, those without are proposed additions; and those with an NIAH reference have been noted as being of merit in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (www.buildingsofireland.ie).
Questions to consider for Natural and Built Heritage
Do you agree with this approach, if so, why?
Do you disagree with this approach, if so, why?
What would you like to change?
Are there any other issues that you feel should be considered?
Please submit your answers to these questions or add your comments using the comment box below.
Please also indicate below whether you are making a comment or whether you are making a formal submission to the plan.