Protecting rare wildlife species at power plants

Pupils Samuel Whaley and Amy Wilkinson, from Larne Grammar School join Ian Luney, president of AES UK and Ireland and Monika Wojcieszek, from Ulster Wildlife, at the launch of the electricity generator's new Biodiversity Action Plan.
Pupils Samuel Whaley and Amy Wilkinson, from Larne Grammar School join Ian Luney, president of AES UK and Ireland and Monika Wojcieszek, from Ulster Wildlife, at the launch of the electricity generator's new Biodiversity Action Plan.

A plan to protect and enhance the wildlife surrounding two of Northern Ireland’s largest power stations has been launched by AES UK & Ireland.

The initiative is being developed by the electricity generator in partnership with local nature conservation charity Ulster Wildlife.

Following the discovery of rare bee orchid more than twelve years ago, AES now boasts over 350 different plants and animals at its Ballylumford and Kilroot sites in including over 70 protected or priority species such as cowslips, small heath butterfly, black guillemot, Irish hares, and badgers.

Alongside wildflower meadows, woodlands, ponds and coastal habitats, the industrial land itself has become an unlikely haven for wildlife, with over 150 sand martin pairs making their homes in the coal ash lagoon on site, which replicates the birds’ traditional cliff nesting sites.

Over the next five years, AES will continue to undertake a range of positive actions to protect and enhance biodiversity on their land, including managing and creating species-rich grasslands, providing homes for wildlife, planting trees and hedges, undertaking beach cleans, controlling invasive species, surveying and monitoring wildlife, and engaging their employees and wider community in conservation and awareness activities.

Ian Luney, president of AES UK &Ireland, said: “This plan represents a new level of ambition and commitment to biodiversity on these sites. Thanks to our long-standing partnership with Ulster Wildlife, a company-wide programme deepens our engagement with local schools.”