Natural and Built Heritage

2.6       Natural and Built Heritage


2.6.1     Natural Heritage  Designated Natural Heritage Sites

Within the draft Local Area Plan boundary is a section of the candidate Special Area of Conservation of the Lower River Suir, and to the south-west of the town is the proposed Natural Heritage Area of Tibberaghny Marshes.  The policies as set out in the County Development Plan 2008 in relation to designated sites apply to these areas.

Special Area of Conservation

The Pil River is comprised of the east and west branches upstream of the main street, and the tidal section downstream of the bridges and the main street.  The tidal stretch of the Pil River south of the main street is a tributary of the River Suir and is designated as part of the candidate Special Area of Conservation of the ‘Lower River Suir’ (site code 002137) with protection under the EU Habitats Directive as it contains an example of an EU Annex I habitat type (alluvial woodland).

Natural Heritage Area

Tibberaghny Marshes proposed Natural Heritage Area (site code 000411) is located south-west of Piltown.  These are an extensive area of wetlands lying on the northern floodplains of the River Suir, and comprise very wet and undisturbed swamp, marsh and wet pasture.  This site is a regionally important wintering site for ducks.  Greylag geese, a legally protected species, are also known to occasionally frequent this site.  Drainage modifications and other agricultural activities may be threatening the habitat diversity and water quality on this site.    Habitat Assessment

As part of the preparation for this plan, a Habitat Assessment was carried out by a team of ecological consultants. This report is included as Appendix 2 of this plan.

The study mapped all of the habitats within the plan area, rated habitats based on their ecological merit and value as an ecological network, 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 demonstrate 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.


An Ecological Survey was carried out by CAAS Environment Services as part of the 2003 LAP.  The findings of this survey were taken on board in the habitats assessment conducted for this LAP. Nature Conservation Outside of Designated Areas

 In addition to the sites within the draft LAP boundary designated under European legislation substantial areas of high biodiversity value are found outside the existing network of designated sites, but within the LAP boundary that contribute to the biodiversity of the area.

Habitat 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 managed well.

The habitat assessment carried out as part of the survey work for this plan used a ‘Green Infrastructure’ approach to describe and assess biodiversity, based on the identification of habitats and their interconnected relationship within ecological networks. Other ecosystem services such as connectivity between habitats; flood attenuation and spaces for recreation were also identified. A detailed hedgerow survey was also carried out.

The identification of ecological networks can assist in identifying features, outside designated areas that might trigger screening and risk pathways that could suggest the need for full appropriate assessment.

Habitats within the LAP area enhance the biodiversity 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.


(Chapter 8 of the County Development Plan 2008-2014 also applies):

 H1 To ensure that any development in or near sites of local conservation interest, as identified in Table 3 of Appendix 2, will minimise any significant adverse impact on the features for which the site has been designated.

H2 Applicants shall demonstrate that there will be no adverse impacts on the ecological integrity of sites of high local ecological value identified in this plan from developments on adjacent sites.   Pil River Corridor

The Pil River was identified as the main ecological network in Piltown, and is comprised of the tidal section downstream of the bridges (of international importance as it lies within the Lower River Suir cSAC) and the west and east branches (both of county importance as they support salmonids and riparian habitats).  The habitats within the whole river network warrant special management and protection.  The river clearly has a corridor function, allowing for movement of protected species such as salmon.  Any development which could affect water quality or riparian habitats should be screened for an 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).  Linking features/corridors associated with this network comprise hedgerows, scrub and semi-natural grassland.

As a Green Infrastructure feature the most important characteristic of the river is that is provides for flood attenuation.  It is an important visual amenity which has potential for further development for active recreation and has potential to reduce pollution in the river.

PL1  Pil River corridor downstream of main street

The most important part of the river network in Piltown is the tidal section below the main street bridges, as this lies within a designated site of international importance, the Lower River Suir cSAC (no. 2137)   and contains an example of an EU Habitats Directive Annex I habitat type (alluvial woodland), which is among the rarer types of wetland in the country.  The scrub, other wet and dry grassland, and mixed woodlands are of high local ecological value and act as a buffer linked directly to the internationally important habitat complex along the river.

PL2 – Western branch of Pil river

The west branch of the Pil River from Tower Road to Main Street is an important ecological corridor through the village. As well as the river itself a number of habitats are found in this section.  The habitat complex of the river channel and riparian woodland is of county importance as it contains small examples of an EU habitat type (floating river vegetation) and is important for salmonids, as well as being directly connected to a site of international biodiversity importance, the Lower River Suir cSAC.

PL3  - East (main) branch of Pil River, Kildalton College grounds, adjoining lands

The east branch of the Pil river from Main Street to the bridge along the back entrance to Kildalton by the playing pitches is an important ecological corridor linking the village with the wider countryside and the habitats in Kildalton. The main habitat found along the river channel is mixed broadleaved woodland.  The river is important in terms of salmonid habitat and is directly linked to the internationally important Lower River Suir cSAC below the Main Street bridge.


Objective – H3

To protect and where possible enhance the habitat of the Pil River, and its associated ecological corridors and habitats, as identified as PL1, PL2 & PL3 on Map 2. An ecological impact assessment will be required in order to assess the impact of any development which could potentially affect this area; this should include a survey of protected species where appropriate.   Where a proposal is deemed likely to have a significant effect on the Pil River it shall be subject to an Appropriate Assessment.   Hedgerows

A number of hedgerows were identified as high value having regard to a number of factors including biodiversity, structural and connectivity value. These hedgerows are identified on Map 2 for retention and enhancement as they contribute significantly to biodiversity in the area.


Objective – H4

To require details for the retention and integration 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 protected during and after construction.




2.6.2     Built Heritage   Archaeology

The Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) 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 Piltown identified in the Record of Monuments and Places for County Kilkenny.

The location of the sites on the Record of Monuments and Places within the draft LAP boundary are shown on figure 5, together with additional Recorded Monuments in the immediate vicinity – and these are listed in table 3 together with their reference number.

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 of Archaeological Potential or their settings. Policies for the protection of archaeological heritage are set out in Chapter 8: Heritage of the County Development Plan 2008.

Table 3: Recorded Monuments in Piltown


RMP Number & Classification RMP Number & Classification
KK039-021—     Castle – Tower House KK039-022-        Unclassified
KK039-023—     Unclassified KK039-022002-   Unclassified
KK039-023002   Hut Site KK039-074—       Tomb
KK039-024003-   Graveslab  
KK039-024002-   Graveyard  
KK039-024001-    Church  

Based on Ordnance Survey of Ireland Map, Licence No “Kilkenny/CCMA/08/12”

Figure 5 – Location of Recorded Monuments in Piltown (source:   Record of Protected Structures

Piltown has 19 structures included in the Record of Protected Structures in the County Development Plan, 2008; the existing protected structures for the town are shown in Appendix 1 and on Map 3. These buildings, their setting and form add to the historical and visual context of the town, and make a valuable cultural contribution to Piltown.

Alterations which would affect the character of a protected structure would 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, (DoEHLG, 2004).  In addition, the Council will assess any application for redevelopment or infill in the context of its contribution to the streetscape. Further guidance is available in the Kilkenny County Development Plan 2008 – chapter 8: Heritage.   National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) has been completed by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, for County Kilkenny. Descriptions and appraisals can be viewed at the NIAH website (  An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Kilkenny was published by the NIAH in 2006, and offers an illustrated introduction to the architecture of the county.  The Minister made a recommendation in 2006 to consider structures included in the survey and rated Regional and above for inclusion in the RPS.  A review of the NIAH has been carried out as part of this Draft LAP, some of the structures are already included in the Record of Protected Structures; and 24 NIAH structures are recommended for inclusion in the RPS, see Appendix 1 and Map 3.

Additions to the RPS cannot be carried out as part of the LAP process, but the additions process will be commenced following the adoption of this LAP.

Policies & Objectives

(Chapter 8 of the County Development Plan 2008-2014 also applies):


H5 – To protect and enhance the amenity and built environment of Piltown and to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance for both the built and natural environment of the town.

Objective – H6

To seek the conservation of the buildings in the Record of Protected Structures & recorded in the NIAH; and to respond to the Ministerial recommendation to include in the Record of Protected Structures, structures identified in the NIAH, as recommended in Appendix 1.

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.

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