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new study commissioned by Greystones Tidy Town reveals that urgent action is needed to save our biodiversity.

Funded by a grant from the Environment And Nature Fund 2019, ecological consultant Faith Wilson carried out the just-published study.

‘The biodiversity loss in the environs of Greystones in the last 30 years has been an ongoing and relentless one,’ she noted. ‘Despite the identification of local biodiversity areas in the Local Area Plan for 2006, biodiversity losses have continued.

‘These losses have occurred principally through rezoning of lands for development, encroachment into areas designated as being of importance for biodiversity, amenistisation and sanitisation of natural habitats, inappropriate management of grasslands, inappropriate ornamental planting, garden escapes becoming invasive in natural areas and a lack of protection for areas of scrub, which form critical habitat for our invertebrates and birdlife.’

Whilst acknowledging that Wicklow County Council was the first local authority in Ireland to declare a biodiversity and climate change emergency, Ms Wilson made a series of recommendations to address the losses uncovered – including zoning the ‘extant areas of land in Greystones with biodiversity still intact’ as lands with biodiversity as the core objective of the lands. An initiative already taken by other local authorities, including Fingal County Council.

Ms Wilson also called for the implementation of actions for those biodiversity areas identified as far back as 2006, and the implementation of grassland management measures which are favourable to biodiversity. With our coastal areas also highlighted for increased protection, there was a call for ‘a sense of the wild’ to be brought back to Greystones,  whilst tackling invasive species, and implementing individual and garden measures for biodiversity.

Ms Wilson in action

The study focused in part on the Three Trout Stream and other waterways, St Crispin’s, our coastal cliffs, rocky shoreline and The South Beach, with surveys on flora and fauna, wildlife, geology, and rare or threatened plants, all wrapped up in a 90-page report. Which you can be read or download here.

‘We need to adjust our thinking, our perceptions and our understanding,’ finishes Wilson, ‘and tolerate a little more more wildness, scruffiness and unkempt-ness in the environs of our towns and villages if we want biodiversity loss to be halted and reduced.’

Cover aerial shot by Rafal Rozalski.