Flare danger to birds was considered: QCLNG

BIRDS will cop a roasting in Curtis Island's new gas flares, conservationists claim, as the QCLNG project tested its first flares last week.

Liquified natural gas plant flares could kill the tiny barptailed godwit, the grey tailed tattler, the red-necked stint pass and the lesser sand plover, which migrate to and from Curtis Island at least twice a year.

But Queensland Curtis LNG said the risk was low.

Up to 10,000 birds were killed by a similar flare in Canada last September.

Gladstone conservationists said the same could happen here.

Local bird watcher Mick Watts said it would be unfortunate for local ecosystems if a similar disaster were to happen.

"It would be a very unlikely occurrence, but a particularly devastating one if it were to happen," he said.

"The marine wetlands play home to a hugely diverse population of birdlife, who travel in moderate-sized groups.

"Any incident with a flare would not impact only a few, but thousands. It would be a mass killing."

However, a spokesperson from Queensland Curtis LNG said the welfare of migratory birds was at the forefront of development plans on the island.

"Significant impact is unlikely, but we are taking a cautious approach anyway," he said.

"Since 2008, QGC has engaged experts to conduct bi-annual surveys of migratory shorebird activities at Curtis Island to obtain detailed data about what birdlife inhabits the area and how it behaves.

"Those studies have confirmed the QCLNG site is not an important roost or foraging area for migratory or resident shorebirds.

"In addition, we have designed the plant in a way that ensures that heat sources are directed away from roost and foraging sites, as a precaution."

Topics:  birds curtis island environment qclng

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