• February 6, 2018

News from Mannin Branch of the Celtic League:

On of the great strengths of the Celtic League are the individuals that give considerable amount of their time and effort unremunerated and indeed eschew the limelight. I’m reminded of this when a report comes through from our Environment Officer (Mannin Branch) Allen Moore.

Allen has devoted several weeks to considerable analysis of the Glen Truan development and the copious amount of additional information that has been submitted to support the plans which WE OPPOSE to develop what’s euphemistically termed a ‘holiday complex’ on a site at the Ayres.

In addition to wading through the documentation – while I have been tucked up nursing the ‘murran’ – Allen has been trudging the Ayres in the inhospitable climate of late and carrying out other in depth research.

Here is his latest draft submission (which has been shared with other opposing groups) on the latest documentation:

“We have read the additional documents submitted by or on behalf of the company proposing the development at Glen Truan. These additional documents include an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) which updates the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal published via the Planning Office in September. Our comments are based on the reading of the EIAR, although we also include what we submitted to the Planning Office on 4th October following our more recent observations, which follow.

The EIAR includes various of the Planning Policies relevant to this type of development. One, in Section 5.27, is Environmental Policy 1 and states: “The countryside and its ecology will be protected for its own sake.” We hope that this principle will be taken account of and lead to the rejection of the proposed development. The EIAR does not change our opinion that the development should be opposed.

The EIAR includes a number of reports submitted about specific aspects, such as bats, trees and bus routes. However, there is very little about birds, which are very important in the ecology of the area around Glen Truan, including the Ayres National Nature Reserve (ANNR) and Central Ayres Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). For example, birds feature in the Manx Government’s on-line document about the ANNR:

https://www.gov.im/…/pro…/the-ayres-national-nature-reserve/ )

The Ayres National Nature Reserve Annual Reports, which are published by the Forestry, Amenity & Lands Directorate of DEFA, contain considerable amounts of information about birds, highlighting their importance in the area of the Ayres adjoining Glen Truan.

Reading some of the other submissions from October we note that both the Manx Ornithological Society and Manx BirdLife refer to the precedent of a bird survey having been requested by the Manx Government and carried out by Manx BirdLife as part of the conditions for planning when the Ronaldsway Airport Runway Extension was constructed close to the Langness, Derbyhaven and Sandwick ASSI. The proposed development at Glen Truan is also close to the ANNR and the Central Ayres ASSI, and we think that the same principle should count for any development of the scale proposed for Glen Truan. However, despite the MOS and MBL (and other organisations) being named as consultees in, for example, Section 8.2, the EIAR contains little information about the important birdlife of the area and nothing about further surveys about birds, unlike what was carried out about bats and trees.

The EIAR repeatedly seems to try to distance the proposed development from the ANNR and Central Ayres ASSI, while admitting that the site is only a matter of a few hundred metres from the protected areas. To repeat the principle stated in Environmental Policy 1 in Section 5.27 of the EIAR: “The countryside and its ecology will be protected for its own sake.” We urge that this be applied in the case of the proposed development and that it be rejected. (Allen Moore pp CL Mannin)

The following were included in our submission of 4th October 2017.

The Celtic League has been concerned about the protection of the Ayres for many years, campaigning on one of the issues in the 1980s and publishing articles about it in 1981 (Carn 33) and 1985 (Carn 51). The League has therefore been pleased with the gradual improvements with the protection of the Ayres, such as with the withdrawal of the UK military from using the Ayres following our campaigns in the 1980s and more recently when the Ayres were designated as a National Nature Reserve.

We agree with any government policies against large developments in country areas. The development proposed for Glen Truan is a large development in a rural area and we urge that it does not receive planning permission. Such a development would be out of scale with the area and will adversely affect the great ecological importance of the Ayres and immediate area. The proposed development would result in a marked increase in the number of people visiting the parts of the Ayres next to Glen Truan, disturbing ground nesting birds such as terns and wading birds (lapwings and curlews, for example). All of these species of birds are decreasing in numbers globally.

As we pointed out in our earlier submission, chough and a hen harrier are seen over Glen Truan Golf Links. Both are Schedule 1 bird species, subject to the maximum protection available under the Isle of Man Wildlife Act of 1990. We have not seen them on the actual part of the site proposed for the development, not having permission for access, but we hope that the effects on the wider area are considered when deciding on such a development. The development will affect more than the site covered by the planned lodges.

It is almost inevitable that this development, if approved, would necessitate large financial expense to the taxpayer because of the need to upgrade infrastructure, such as the area’s roads, which are currently narrow and winding. The EIAR claims that the roads can cope with the traffic that the proposed development would generate, but any unforeseen consequences of the development could change that.

In conclusion, we reiterate that we consider that the proposed development is too large for such a rural area.”

This post has been updated (23/01/18) with additional paragraphs from the final draft the definitive work should be published on the planning website in due course

Bernard Moffatt
pp Celtic League



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