THE potential impact of a golf course on a rare bee - recorded absent from Northern Ireland between 1933 and 2003 until it was discovered in sand dunes in Magilligan and a number of other sites - was properly assessed, according to the Department of the Environment (DoE).
Ninety per cent of the world’s Northern Colletes bee (Colletes floralis) are thought to be located in coastal areas of the island.
The species was recorded as absent from Northern Ireland records between 1933 and 2003, when it was re-discovered in four sites on the North Coast: - Magilligan Dunes, Portstewart Strand, Bushfoot Strand and White Park Bay.
Green MLA Stephen Agnew asked the DoE if the potential impact of the proposed Bushmill Dunes golf course on the bee had been considered.
The DoE responded: “When proposals were submitted for a major golf facility at Runkerry the possibility of such an important species being present was raised.
“A survey of C. floralis was requested as part of the Environmental Statement accompanying the application. A site survey in 2007 did not locate any C. floralis within the proposed development area.
“The absence of the species was confirmed in a resurvey of the site in 2011.
“The potential impact of the construction of the Bushmills Dunes golf resort on the Northern Colletes Bee was therefore properly assessed during the processing of the planning application.
“The conclusion was that the development would not give rise to significant effects on the species.
“Following a challenge to the decision by the National Trust, the permission was held to be lawful by the Courts.”