NEWTOWNABBEY Borough Council has denied suggestions that holding a Halloween fireworks display over Mossley Mill dam will have a damaging impact on wildlife in the area.
The local authority was responding to claims made by a Glengormley woman who contacted the Times this week claiming that the council’s plan to launch fireworks from a pontoon in the mill pond during its Spooked Out event on October 31 will prove a terrifying ordeal for the swans and ducks that live there.
“It’s just a real shame, because it’s totally unnecessary. I don’t know why they (the council) felt the need to have this in the middle of a wildlife pond when they have lots of other sites they could use. They had the fireworks in the Civic Square last year and it was fine, so there was no need to change it,” said animal lover Victoria Stewart.
“If you’re a swan or a duck and someone sets off fireworks over your head then of course it is going to frighten you. This will cause unnecessary stress to the wildlife living in and around the pond,” the Ballyhenry woman added.
A council spokesperson revealed that the decision to launch the fireworks from the mill pond had been taken “in an effort to deliver an improved Spooked Out event”, and she denied that the pyrotechnic display would be harmful to wildlife in the area.
“Before a final decision was made a thorough risk assessment was carried out with particular reference to the wildlife. The biodiversity of the entire Mill site is actively protected and promoted as an integral part of the Mill visitor experience and the council takes the protection of this very seriously.
“The RSPB states that ‘there is little to suggest that fireworks harm wild birds or affect their conservation status’. The fireworks company will take full responsibility for an extensive clean up after the event with all debris being removed.
“The council hopes that this year’s Spooked Out event is the biggest and best to date, providing a very enjoyable Halloween treat for all the family,” she commented.