Councillors defy legal advice over zoning near bat cave
Members of Clare County Council have defied legal advice and their own county manager by allowing an area to be zoned for housing beside an internationally important site for the rare lesser horseshoe bat.
Councillors overwhelmingly voted in favour not to zone a site “open space” that is 120m from Poulnagordon Cave, near the village of Quin. The cave is home to 89 of the protected bats.
A report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service warned councillors not to zone the site for housing, stating that the cave was a special area of conservation and was of international importance due to the numbers of bats it contains.
The lesser horseshoe bat is one of the world’s smallest bats, weighing only five to nine grams with a wingspan of 194mm to 254mm and a body length of 35mm to 45mm. It is afforded legal protection through the EU habitats directive.