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Belfast WoW Centre (RSPB)


This project involved improvements to the RSPB’s facilities on the southern shore of Belfast Lough. An enlarged gallery was created from which members of the public can enjoy a panoramic view and comfortably observe birds and other wildlife visiting the wetland lagoon and nature reserve that sits as an environmental oasis within the Port of Belfast.

Belfast Window on Wildlife (WoW), is a single-storey, steel-framed, low-profile building with extensive glass frontage. Facilities include a community room, toilets, offices and visitor information areas.

A high-level tower with ninety nesting boxes was designed and installed to attract swifts to nest in the area. It was manufactured off-site and secured to a piled foundation established in a generally inaccessible area of soft ground. A lower, masonry-framed structure, an artificial sandbank, was developed to encourage the nesting of sand martins.

Construction was completed on a tight programme that respected nesting habits to the attending and existing wildlife to the site, and all construction work was hidden from the wildlife area behind temporary scaffolding and netting screen that minimised intrusion to the ecosystem.

With no existing drainage on the site, a Klargester settlement tank was installed to treat effluent to a high level prior to discharge to the wetland lagoon on the site where storm drainage discharged directly. Existing paths and roads were also upgraded as part of the works and for this project Taylor & Boyd drew on extensive experience of working within protected areas to apply the appropriate guidance and regulations. (Photographs courtesy of Richard Patterson & Dixons Contractors)

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