Cookstown Area Plan 2010
Policy Framework: Conservation (Page 2 of 5)
Biodiversity is the total variety of all living things and today the value of sustaining a diverse range of wildlife is being increasingly recognised. People are beginning to appreciate the vulnerability of our natural heritage and the consequences for future generations of environmental damage. The Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy 2002 endorses the recommendations of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group as the framework for biodiversity action. The strategy describes the main features of biodiversity in Northern Ireland, identifies the main factors affecting it and proposes a number of measures to support biodiversity conservation up to 2016.
Cookstown District has a wide variety of wildlife habitats supporting a rich variety of plant and animal species worthy of protection. Wetland habitats, including lakes, rivers and peatlands, are of particular note, as are woodland and grassland. Earth science interest is also growing as research has increasingly discovered notable topographical and geological features that help to explain the evolution of today's landscapes and habitat diversity. Cookstown is particularly rich in sand and gravel topography.
Much of the protection of these natural habitats and features is achieved through the designation of a hierarchy of sites that are of nature conservation importance. This is primarily the responsibility of the Department of the Environment's Environment and Heritage Service. Some designations are particularly important because what they exemplify is rare and irreplaceable: such features of scientific, educational or research interest, once destroyed, cannot be recreated. Others sites are important as representative examples of their type on a local, national or international scale.
Sites of International Nature Conservation Importance
These comprise sites listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and European Sites (Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation) designated under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (NI) 19952. All European Sites are also Areas of Special Scientific Interest declared under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985.
Within Cookstown District, Lough Neagh and its shoreline is listed as a Ramsar Site and is also designated as a Special Protection Area by virtue of its bird populations and wetland habitats. Black Bog is a Ramsar Site and a candidate Special Area of Conservation. Teal Lough and the Ballinderry River corridors and its tributaries, together with the Owenkillew catchment area are candidate Special Areas of Conservation.
Sites of National Nature Conservation Importance
These comprise Areas of Special Scientific Interest, Marine Nature Reserves, Nature Reserves and National Nature Reserves, declared under the provisions of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985. They also include Areas of Scientific Interest declared under the Amenity Lands (NI) Act 1965.
In addition to those Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) which are also designated as European Sites within the District, there are also ASSIs at Bardahessiagh, Ballysudden, Teal Lough and Slaghtfreeden Bogs, Teal Lough Part 2, Lime Hill Farm, Little River and Lough Doo. A number of the islands of Lough Neagh are managed as part of the Lough Neagh National Nature Reserve, and there are Nature Reserves at Brookend and Killywoolaghan. Lough Neagh is a declared Area of Scientific Interest. Over the plan period, the statutory designation of sites of national or international nature conservation importance will be kept under review by the Department of the Environment's Environment and Heritage Service and new areas may be identified.
Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance
Alongside the international and national sites, the Department also recognises a variety of Local Nature Reserves and Wildlife Refuges. These sites include:
- Local Nature Reserves established by District Councils under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985;
- Wildlife Refuges designated under the Wildlife Order, where special protection measure for some or all species are implemented;
- Non-statutory nature reserves managed by voluntary conservation bodies such as the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Forest Service or the Ulster Wildlife Trust; and
- Other sites of local nature conservation importance highlighted in association with the Department of the Environment's Environment and Heritage Service which merit protection.
2 These Regulations implement the provisions of the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (The Wild Bird Directive) and the EC Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora (The Habitats Directive) within Northern Ireland.
Over the lifetime of the Plan, Cookstown District Council intends to establish Local Nature Reserves at Ballyronan Wood, Cummings Quarry (Tullyhogue) and at Parkland, Moneymore. The Forest Service has established non-statutory Forest Nature Reserves at Teal Lough, Slaghtfreeden and Pomeroy. The Ulster Wildlife Trust manages the reserve at Teal Lough.
A number of sites of local nature conservation or earth science importance which add to the overall conservation interest of the District is designated. Of particular importance are some of the District's lakes, notably Roughan Lough and Lough Fea, woodlands such as Springhill and Killymoon. Peatland areas are also notable, as are geological sites at Eagles Rock and Oughtmore Mountain. The sites are dealt with under Plan Policy CON 1.
All designated sites of local nature conservation importance are identified by symbol on the District map with exact boundaries being shown on Map Nos. 5 - 26. Proposed local nature reserves are identified in Appendix 3 on Map Nos. 82 - 84. Sites of International and National importance are represented by symbols on the Environmental Designations Map No. 2 with exact boundaries being shown in Appendix 3 on Map Nos. 63 - 79.
Archaeology and Built Heritage
The present landscape of Cookstown District is the product of human activity and change which dates from around 8,000 BC to modern times. Evidence of the human presence is indicated by a rich variety of archaeological sites and monuments, historic and vernacular buildings, features of the industrial heritage, planned landscapes and historic townscapes. While the landscape and townscape of Cookstown District will continue to change over time in response to the needs of the community, it is important to respect and protect the archaeological and built heritage received from past generations and to improve the quality of new development. This will help ensure a rich historic legacy and attractive environment for future generations.
Archaeological Sites and Monuments
The Department's Environment and Heritage Service is responsible for the identification, recording and protection of all known archaeological sites and historic monuments in Northern Ireland. This includes the taking of monuments into State Care and their scheduling for protection under the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995.
There are currently 472 archaeological sites and monuments identified on the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Record within Cookstown District. This includes 15 Monuments in State Care, protected and managed as a public asset by the Environment and Heritage Service and 52 scheduled monuments. These are indicated on Map No. 3 and on the relevant Settlement Maps. All known archaeological sites or monuments are indicated and in some cases, these features have formed the basis for or contributed to the designation of Local Landscape Policy Areas (see Plan Policy CON 2). With ongoing archaeological survey work there may be changes to the exact location of these sites.
Over the plan period, archaeological remains that had not been previously recognised, may be discovered. The existence of such remains may represent a material change that can affect the nature of development that will be permitted in respect of an area within a settlement, or in the countryside.
Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Character
The Department's Environment and Heritage Service is required, under the provisions of the Planning (NI) Order 1991, to compile a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest for Northern Ireland, following consultation with the Historic Buildings Council and the relevant District Council.
At present there are over 200 buildings included in the statutory list within Cookstown District and it is anticipated that over the plan period further buildings will be added, as the process of building survey and resurvey is ongoing. In some cases, listed buildings have formed the basis for or contributed to the designation of Local Landscape Policy Areas (see Plan Policy CON 2).
In recognition of its special architectural and historic interest, the centre of the village of Moneymore was designated a conservation area by the Department in 1980. The Moneymore Conservation Area booklet provides information on the history and character of the area together with guidance to assist those people wishing to carry out development within the area. The boundary of the Conservation Area is identified on Map No. 80.
Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes
Cookstown District contains a number of planned landscaped parks and demesnes, such as Drum Manor and Killymoon Castle, which represent a significant historic resource and make an important contribution to the landscape character of the District. These important heritage features are dealt with under Plan Policy CON 6.