Last week, An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland wrote to Minister Heather Humphreys TD with queries on the proposed accommodation of another round of filming of Star Wars on Skellig Michael. The first round of filming, last year was facilitated in breach of long established conservation policy for the World Heritage Site. Ian Lumley, Heritage Office with An Taisce stated: “Existing levels of visitor activity are already at the level of or slightly in excess of what would be best for a site of this sensitivity, and even with current restrictions, wear and tear is visible. Therefore nothing unnecessary should be permitted, as is normal policy for the whole island, including the monastic remains.” “An Taisce believes the site has not just extraordinary beauty, value and presence, but that the site is very fragile and none of it was ever intended for the human numbers and the levels of activity already occurring during the summer season.The island is also of extreme importance to the colonies of birds it supports. Given the approximate dates for the proposed filming this year, mid -September, there will still be considerable numbers of the two priority- listed bird species on the island, Manx Shearwaters and Storm-Petrels. “ An Taisce have been seeking information on the effects on the site of the last round of filming and and have specifically asked the Minister about the Legal Status of the project and details of the site impact and mitigation plans the Department and NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service) propose.
What is the legal and consent status of the project?
What screening has been carried out with regard to potential requirement for Environmental Impact assessment?
What screening has been carried out for Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Directive?
Site Impact – Mitigation.
Without prejudice to the legal issues raised above, what mitigation measures and DAHG/NPWS supervisory measures are proposed to address the range of issues and concerns in this letter.