Barn Owls at Quarterlands

Barn Owls Page:

Eyewitness Reports, Evidence, and Concerns Unveiled

For years, the intricate web of beetles, bugs, butterflies and barn owls went unrecorded, valued and noticed in our lives but not numbered or written down.. Little did we know that failing to document them would jeopardize their existence.

Now, as we try to gather eyewitness testimony, we are trying to preserve our diverse ecosystem. Our collective effort aims to protect the invaluable wildlife that thrives in Lagan Valley Regional Park, ensuring it remains untouched by the threat of urban development. Join us in this crucial mission, as every recorded beetle, bug, butterfly, and barn owl becomes a guardian of our cherished natural haven.

If we don’t we lose it all. 




Priority Protected Species


Proposed site LA05/2022/0033/F we will lose the biodiversity
The Story

Barn Owls in LVRP

Our community has long been graced by the enchanting presence of Barn Owls, with residents sharing numerous sightings during evening walks. Eyewitness accounts, recommended for consideration in assessing Priority Protected species, highlight the significance of these majestic birds in our area.

Under The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 and LCCC policies, Barn Owls are legally protected. We stress the importance of acknowledging the value of Lagan Valley Regional Park (LVRP) for wildlife, health, and tourism, particularly as the sole Regional Park in Northern Ireland within the LCCC boundary.

Adopting Local Development Plan 2032 (LDP 2032) in September 2023 has placed LCCC at the forefront of safeguarding and promoting the LVRP. This responsibility is vital for our unique regional park.

This letter brings attention to the presence of Barn Owls in the Quarterlands Road East Lisburn Countryside, contributing significantly to the foraging habitat for various animals, including the Barn Owl.

Our community is deeply concerned about the potential impact of construction on local biodiversity. We’ve garnered support from organizations like the Barn Owl Trust, Ulster Wildlife, RSPB, and Dr. Andy Bridge, Manager of LVRP.

This information along with relevant documents, emails, and endorsements from biodiversity experts, should be included in the LCCC Planning Committee’s materials and used as part of the decision whether to build on the park..

Thank you for your support in preserving our local wildlife and the Lagan Valley Regional Park.

We are all in this together

Photo Credit: LNBOG….Lough Neagh Barn Owl Group- two barn owls sitting facing each other in the rafters of a tin roofed shed

With Thanks to LNBOG – Lough Neagh Barn Owl Group for the pictures of their beautiful Owls. 

Information concerning Barn Owls as a protected species which are critically endangered in Northern Ireland.

There is evidence of Barn Owl presence within the proposed development area. Ulster Wildlife Barn Owl Officers have conducted a survey on 12th August 2022 and are content that Barn Owls are using the site.  

It is currently thought that while breeding pairs are numbered between 500 -700 in the South of Ireland, that a mere thirty breeding pairs are listed in Northern Ireland. This is a stark statistic for Northern Ireland’s Biodiversity/Wildlife Services and practices need to change urgently.

A Night Vision Camera survey conducted by one of our group together with a local conservationist in December 2022 observed a foraging Barn Owl in the field adjacent to the site. This may be repeated.

Once a barn owl has established a home range, it remains for life. We have two sightings on the same flight path and the most recent sighting was on the 27th December 2023.

The site survey was only one day not at night and is not representative of the Barn Owl population on site and seasonal conditions have not been taken into consideration. While the consultants conducting the site may be suitably qualified, the generic survey is in no way adequate to represent the biodiversity within this AONB/SLNCI and the LVRP, the only designated Regional Park in Northern Ireland. Therefore, a bespoke in-depth seasonal survey should be conducted.

Barn Owl Home Range

Barn Owls information



Date: 17/08/2022 

Time: 2100

Just to confirm, we live at Zenda park. 2-3 weeks ago my wife and I were in our back garden late one evening when the sun had just gone down so it was about 9pm and I noticed something flying through the air along the hedge line at it the bottom of our garden.

It flew behind our large tree at the bottom of the garden and appeared out the other side where the turned and flew towards me. It was an owl. I later googled it and found it be a barn owl. After seeing me in the garden it flew off towards the field again at the end of our garden.

Please let me know if you need any more information.




Date: 27/12/2022

Time: 1700

 I was staying at 11 Rural Cottages, off the Quarterlands Road during the Christmas holidays. I decided to go for a run late afternoon of the 27th of December 2022. On my return route I came from Ballyskeagh Road turning on to Quarterlands Road and as I was approaching number 66 on left hand side of Quarterlands Road I spotted an owl flying past the apex of the gable end of number 66 and then crossing Quarterlands Road. It flew quite low over a house on the opposite side of the road into Hambleden estate. It was almost, but not completely, dark and I could clearly see the bird’s silhouette against the grey sky.

I could clearly see that this bird was an owl. It had relatively large wings in relation to its body mass and it glided noiselessly overhead with very little flapping. It was very graceful flying in the near darkness. It clearly came from the direction of the fields to the rear of number 66 Quarterlands Road. I have been asked to make this statement by the Quarterlands Group and I am also prepared to swear an affidavit should the same be deemed necessary.



Date: 09/09/2023

Time: 2100

On the evening of Saturday 9th September 2023 my husband and I were sitting at the bottom of our garden (4 Zenda park). This looks out onto the adjacent field and the area of the proposed development. At approximately 9pm a barn owl flew within metres of where we were sitting; it is unmistakable pale colour obvious in the dusk sky.

This is the second time we have viewed the barn owl up close, having witnessed it last year also, which would lead us to believe that it is nesting in the area.



Date: 27/12/2023

Time: 1700

Just confirming my Barn Owl sighting.

Place: Tree lined field parallel to the MI between the covered bus stop and the motorway bridge on the Ballyskeagh Road,BT17 9LL.

I live in 94a Ballyskeagh Road, Dunmurry BT17 9LL.

Hope this is of help to your survey.




Date: 01/12/2023

Time: 1700

This is the wonderful Long Eared Owl I saw on 1st December at 5pm. It was sitting on the roof of number 50 Hambleden Park, just at the entrance to the Park from Quarterlands Road.

Long eared Owl WhatsApp Image 2023-12-01 at 17.05.43_b9be65a6
Long Eared Owl - Quarterlands 01.12.23

Vocal Support from Experts

30th March  2022

Dr Andrew Bridge
Manager Lagan Valley Regional Park

Ref : LA05/2022/0033/F

Location: Lands between 58 and 66 Quarterlands Road, northeast of 54b-c & 56 Quarterlands Road, north of 7-12 Rural Cottages and southeast of 4-7 Zenda Park, Drumbeg

Details: Erection of seventeen detached dwellings with associated parking, landscaping, open space, site works and access arrangements from Quarterlands Road.

The Regional Park has considered the above planning application and acknowledges that it lies within the boundary of the Regional Park. The proposed intensification of housing would mean a significant shift from the existing semi-rural setting to an urban setting. It would greatly impact the character of Lagan Valley Regional Park and Lagan Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in terms of increased traffic pressure and its associated problems, loss of open greenspace and biodiversity. Pressure for new build, redevelopment or infill housing poses a serious threat to the integrity of the buffer zone between urban and rural.

Both government and local councils have developed strategic objectives to protect and promote access to open greenspace for both mental and physical well-being and to alleviate the impacts of anthropogenic climate change. We feel that this development would represent a serious reversal in these initiatives. The proposed development will further reduce the amount of greenspace along the river corridor and would therefore contravene Policy COU 12.


Policy COU 12

Development Proposals in the Lagan Valley Regional Park within the Metropolitan Development Limit and Settlement Development Limits

Planning permission will only be granted for new development or intensification of urban development where it can be demonstrated that the proposal is appropriate to, and does not have a significant adverse effect on, the character of the Park, the settlement, the landscape quality and features or the visual amenity and meets the following criterion:

  • where located adjacent to the River Lagan, proposals should integrate with, and take into account, the river and its associated features where appropriate.
  • these urban locations require balance with their location within the Park and the need to protect and where possible enhance its character. All development must therefore be associated with and blend sympathetically with the Park and not detract from its character, landscape, or native conservation value.

The proposed will intensify urbanisation of the river corridor and will significantly eat away at this valuable green corridor. This green corridor provides the only refuge for wildlife in an urban area and the river corridor forms vital access for the adjacent communities for both recreation and mental health benefits. It is important that this resource is protected for future generations and for the wellbeing of the City of Lisburn.

We therefore object to this development.

Yours sincerely

Dr Andy Bridge


McClelland House
10 Heron Road
T 028 9045 4094         

21st October 2022

Planning Department Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
Civic Headquarters
Lagan Valley Island
BT27 4RL

Re: Planning Application: LA05/2022/0033/F: Erection of 17 detached dwellings with associated parking, landscaping, open space, site works and access arrangements from Quarterlands Road.

Dear Sir or Madam,

 I am writing on behalf of Ulster Wildlife to object to the above planning application. Ulster Wildlife is Northern Ireland’s largest local nature conservation charity with over 14,000 members. Our vision is for a healthy, well cared for natural environment, which contributes to enjoyment, quality of life, prosperity, health and well-being.

On reviewing the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal that was completed in November 2021 it was noted that a barn owl survey was not carried out. Members of the local area got in touch with Ulster Wildlife to raise concerns around the possibility of barn owls using a nearby building.



The site was visited on 12th August 2022 and barn owl pellets were indeed found inside the building. The grid reference is J 30237 66598. Barn owl feathers had also been found earlier that year. We have received a number of sightings of barn owls hunting in the area.

We are aware that the building in question is not part of the development, however the surrounding fields are. It is recommended that a barn owl survey be carried out before any development works, and any appropriate mitigation measures followed.

Barn owls are protected under Article 4 and Schedule A1 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 as amended by the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011and should be taken into consideration during this planning application.

There are now fewer than 30 pairs of barn owls left in Northern Ireland and so it is vital to protect this dwindling population. If you would like clarification of any of the points raised please contact me


Yours sincerely

Katy Bell Senior Conservation Officer, Ulster Wildlife

The site and the central Hedgerow
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Beautiful Biodiversity

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The UK has lost almost half of its wildlife and plant species because of human and land development and is ranked in the bottom 10% in the world and the worst among the G7 nations.

Paul Donnelly, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) said: at the launch of Nature Positive with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Healthy nature sustains us. However, our biodiversity is under severe pressure, at a time when we have never been more in need of it to counter the impacts of climate change. We need to ensure that we are building resilient nature for now and for future generations.

The Biodiversity Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020 contained seventy-six recommendations that were accepted by the Executive as Northern Ireland’s framework for action to halt biodiversity loss.

We need to be mindful where new housing developments are planned for this area as this is an incredible opportunity to protect what is precious today for future generations.*



Quarterlands Protected Species List

As you can see this area has  priority species of importance; 

BARN OWLS must be protected as well as the area in which this red-listed bird lives within the Lagan Valley Regional Park.