Power company plan to conserve wildlife
Northern Ireland's biggest power company has published a plan to improve the habitat for wildlife on its sites.
AES UK and Ireland runs the electricity generation stations at Kilroot near Carrickfergus and Ballylumford near Larne.
There are 70 protected or priority species on the two sites, including Irish hares, badgers and various plant species.
A large colony of sand martins also nests at the Kilroot site.
The coal-fired power station generates ash as a by-product, which has been contoured into banks on the site.
The sand martins have colonised part of one bank, burrowing into it to raise their young.
The company is in a partnership with Ulster Wildlife and funds a biodiversity officer, Monika Wojcieszek, who liaises with staff and schoolchildren who come onto the site.
Future plans include creating more species-rich grassland and encouraging workers to help conserve the wildlife on the sites.
Coal is not a long term option for power generation and change will come to Kilroot as the company reacts to new emissions legislation.
Company president Ian Luney said that while the power stations generate emissions, AES UK & Ireland's wildlife policy was "creating the value around our sites that wasn't immediately obvious".
He hopes other companies will see that nature and industry can co-exist, he said.