The Commission for Energy Regulation has announced that customers of Irish Water will have their metered charges capped at an assessed rate for the first nine months of use. Same has also revealed that all home owners who receive water not fit for human consumption will not have to pay any water supply charges.
The charges announced today, confirm that a family of two adults and two children will pay an annual water bill of about €278, with home-owners billed for water use with effect from tomorrow.
The Commission also identify two types of customers; those with meters who will pay for the water they use and those without meters who will pay an assessed charge. The former metered customers will be charged €2.44 per 1,000 litres, but charges will be capped at the unmetered rate for the first nine months of usage. The latter consumers without meters will pay an annual rate of €176 for a household with one adult – or €278 for a home with two adults, while children will be given a free allowance of 21,000 litres, which will be monitored on a quarterly basis and adjusted. People who own a second home will pay a charge of €125 on their non-primary residence.
Customers who live in areas where the water is unfit for human consumption will not pay any water supply charge, once a boil water notice has been in place for at least 24 hours. However, they will continue to be charged for waste water services.
Customers who have been overcharged during their billing period will receive a rebate after six months and all the caps and charges announced today will apply to the end of 2016.
An Bord Pleanála has overruled their own planning inspector and given approval for plans to erect a substantial €80 million wind farm on Tipperary’s highest scenic mountain peak. Objectors now claim that a proper environment impact assessment was not carried out by the planning authority, before this final consent was confirmed.
The Planning Appeals Board have granted permission to ESB Wind Development and Coillte for 16 wind turbine to be built on the slopes of Keeper Hill; latter situated in the Silvermines mountains south of the M7 motorway, joining Limerick to Dublin. These planned wind turbines will have a tip height of some 145m (475ft) – 25m (81ft) higher than Dublin’s 120m (394ft) O’Connell Street Spire.
The planning board’s own Inspector had recommended refusal of these plans; as the development would greatly interfere with the striking skylines and greatly detract from the attractive natural wild, rough countryside appearance, that is this Keeper Hill site. The Inspector had also recommended refusal fearing that this development would seriously result in the loss of a protected European-designated site and give rise to severe water pollution through the slippage of natural peat formation.
Last year, North Tipperary County Council had refused permission for this project and were supported in their refusal by the Department of Arts and Heritage, as the development could result in the significant loss of foraging habitat for an EU protected bird species, namely the Hen Harrier, latter residing within the Slievefelim and Silvermines environs; already an area granted special protection.
An Taisce,latter the charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland’s natural and built heritage, have also raised concerns over this planned proposal; claiming that 28 wind turbines had already been granted planning permission within this same specially protected area and that no further planning should be granted until a comprehensive assessment had been made of the ability of the Hen Harrier to forage within the vicinity of the wind-farm.
An Bord Pleanála, in granting this sought after 25 year planning permission period made by ESB Wind Development and Coillte, have in effect ruled that this new proposed wind farm will not seriously injure the amenities of the area or property within the vicinity and will not be injurious to the cultural heritage and tourism potential of this outstanding scenic area.
It would appear that those responsible for our National Planning have little interest in protecting Co Tipperary’s history and remaining naturally occurring scenery.
Are you wondering how to enjoy some truly high quality family time this coming weekend?
Why not bring the whole family along to Cabragh Wetlands from 9.00am to 12.00 noon this Sunday, 13th July, when Birdwatch Ireland will open their ‘ringing nets’ to the public and giving you a chance to look at and hear about the birds that have been caught and tagged that morning.
To view video in HD please click HERE .
Ringing nets are the process used to attach a small, individually numbered metal or plastic tag to the leg or wing of a wild bird. This later enables individual bird to be identified should it be recaptured or recovered.
It is common to take measurements during this capture for ringing. The subsequent recapture or recovery of the bird can then later provide valuable insight on migration, longevity, mortality, population studies, territoriality, feeding behaviour and many other aspects that are studied in detail by ornithologists.
There will also be a Star Systems television crew filming and recording, for public broadcasting later in the year and they would truly love to film your children busily active and engaged with ‘Mother Nature.’
Insect traps will be set up and the pond dipped, so there will be plenty to see and lots to learn from a team of experts under the supervisory and informative wing of senior Birdwatch Officer Alex Copland.
This will be a great family morning, and we advise that you come earlier rather than later, as trapped birds and insects can’t be kept for too long and must be released back into the wild as soon as possible after capture.
Trust me when I say that this educational primary source experience will be the total conversation around your dinner table for many days to come.
There will be a small charge of €5 for adults and €2 for children, with same being used as a contribution to the Cabragh Wetlands current and very important building programme.
Mountshannon, Clare, Ireland – Members of the public are now able to observe one of the first White Tailed Sea Eagles born in Ireland in over a century; courtesy of a new Viewing & Information Point that has been officially opened on the shores of Lough Derg in County Clare.
Located at Mountshannon Pier and operated by Mountshannon Community Council, the Golden Eagle Trust and Clare County Council, the new Viewing Point features telescopes and information and displays about the White Tailed Sea Eagles. The facility will remain open until the end of September.
Norway’s Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Roald Næss joined Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe in Mountshannon today in recognition of his country’s close links with the Golden Eagle Trust’s programme to reintroduce the bird to Ireland.
The Mountshannon breeding pair, a six-year-old male and five-year-old female, were collected as chicks on the island of Frøya off the west coast of Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust. The birds were released in Killarney National Park before relocating to Lough Derg in 2011. The pair, named Saoirse and Caimin, created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in 110 years. The pair successfully hatched another chick in late April of this year.
Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe welcomed the introduction of the Viewing Point which he said provides the general public with “a unique opportunity to view the birds at close quarters without disturbing them”.
He added: “The breeding success of the Mountshannon pair is in no small part down to the wonderful work of the Golden Eagle Trust, Clare County Council and Mountshannon Community Council, as well as the goodwill and support shown by the local community. This Viewing & Information Point will help to further safeguard these impressive birds and their nesting activities, as well as to promote their ecology and conservation.”
Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Roald Næss described the increase in the number of nesting pairs of White Tailed Sea Eagles in Ireland as “encouraging” and expressed his delight that Norway has played a central role in the reintroduction programme.
He continued: “Norway is home to one of the largest White Tailed Sea Eagle populations in the world and has been instrumental in helping organisations such as the Golden Eagle Trust to reintroduce the species to countries where the bird once flourished but is no longer found. Being able to view this breeding pair thrive here in County Clare is a tribute to everyone concerned and I hope the people who visit this Viewing Point truly value what is happening here.”
Welcoming the official opening of the Viewing & Information Point, Dr. Allan Mee, White Tailed Sea Eagle project manager, commented: “We are very conscious of the risk of disturbing the birds especially during nesting periods, so we warmly welcome this structure which is purpose built and designed specifically for the purposes as a Bird Viewing and Information Point. It will help put Mountshannon on the map as the destination to come and enjoy perhaps Ireland’s largest and most spectacular breeding bird. To have a nesting pair of eagles here on our doorstep is unique and one that the local community in Mountshannon will I’m sure help nurture into the future”.
The Viewing Point will be maintained by Mountshannon Community Council, whose Chairperson John Harvey said: “Since the White Tailed Sea Eagles first arrived here three years ago, members of the local community have given tremendous support to the Golden Eagle Trust to ensure the birds were given every possible opportunity to thrive. The Community Council looks forward to welcoming people to the village and the Viewing Point, which we regard as a wonderful addition to the local tourism infrastructure.”
A new invasive species of Shrew is spreading across our Tipperary landscape at a rate of more than five kilometres a year, according to new research.
The Greater White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura russula) was first discovered living on our Irish shores in around 2007, first spotted in the regurgitated food remains (pellets) from Barn Owls and Kestrels and collected at some 15 locations around Tipperary. Greater White-toothed Shrews have since been trapped at four different locations in Tipperary, providing compelling evidence that this new species has now become very firmly established.
This new immigrant species, normally found along the Mediterranean, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Portugal, can be identified by their greyish brown hair and a yellowish grey lower belly, together with distinctive bright white teeth, prominent ears and long white hairs on their tails. This non native mammal species possibly arrived here in Ireland hidden amongst horticultural imports such as the root balls of cheaply imported trees, to set up residents in our midst.
This same importation of tree saplings brought us the fungus named Chalara fraxinea, which now has been confirmed as responsible for killing our native ash trees. All of the ash trees affected by this latter fungus are understood to have also been imported as saplings from continental Europe over the same time period.
While there are no known positive effects of the Greater White-toothed Shrew upon humans; the impact on the ecology of habitats in which it is found, remains presently unclear but may turn out to be considerable. These invasive miniature mammals are three times the size of its nearest rival, (weighing in at 8g – 14g) the native well established Pygmy Shrew, (Latter only 3g – 6g).
The Irish native Pygmy Shrew has existed in wild isolation here in Ireland for at least 5,000 years. Therefore, the sudden introduction of this new species, requiring both a larger shared habitat and similar dietary overlap, could now have serious consequences for our Pygmy Shrew. It has already become apparent that the Pygmy Shrew has been rapidly declining here in Co.Tipperary, where as the Greater White-toothed Shrew has instead become well established, spreading at a rate of more than five kilometres per year.
Researchers from University College Dublin (UCD) have warned that within the seven years since these creature were first discovered, it has colonised an estimated 7,600 square km in nine Irish counties, namely Tipperary, Westmeath, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Offaly, Laois, and Cork. The reason for this rapid spread is due to the habit of the female of the genus leaving the nest early and moving away to newer territory, possibly to instinctively avoid in-breeding amongst their own species.
This recent influx and rapid growth of this non native mammal is yet another reason for calling a sudden halt to the often wanton destruction of our native birds of prey who feed on this quarry here in Co Tipperary.