Marine Science


RPS provides comprehensive marine environmental services to the public and private sectors together with statutory agencies who have a responsibility for the protection of the marine environment throughout Ireland and the UK.

RPS has built a worldwide reputation providing environmental consultancy expertise to a prestigious client base.

Our services include:

Marine Ecology

Marine Mammal Observers

Coastal Modelling

ESAS Ornithologists

Marine Monitoring (Real Time)

Developing Programme of Measures

Environmental Compliance Auditing

Marine Consents, Licences and Permits

The Marine Environment contains a wealth of resources which at given times can be sensitively explored and utilised. Equally the exploitation of these natural resources needs careful consideration and protection from unsustainable development or exploration. The services which RPS offer in this area include the management of large-scale multi-disciplinary projects covering port development/expansion, marine aggregate extraction, the renewable energy, oil & gas sectors, fisheries and aquaculture, coastal protection, flood defence and provide strategic research to facilitate the development of Government policy. The Marine Environment requires planning permissions, consents, foreshore licence, various environmental assessments including Environmental Impact Assessments and Habitats Directive Assessments all of which require professional consultancy services in the area of marine environmental services for which RPS has a wealth of experience. We help our clients ensure their developments and other relevant activities are sustainable and fully compliant with environmental legislation and policy obligations. In addition RPS can offer a wide spectrum of marine environmental survey and monitoring expertise to assist in planning, licences, consent and other marine related requirements.

Case Studies

Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd

Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd< Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd

RPS was commissioned to carry out a detailed site evaluation and conceptual design study examining grid connection feasibility, environmental sensitivities, wave resources and structural issues for the installation of the innovative marine energy technology on the west coast of Ireland.

The Lower River Shannon holds a number of important environmental designations, including Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) areas and hosts a number of rare and protected species, including internationally important numbers of birds such as Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit and Redshank, as well as other protected species such as Bottlenose Dolphins.

The CETO wave energy units self-tune to sea-state and wave patterns. The installation is anchored to the ocean floor, and uses seabed pumps which are driven by submerged buoys. The pumps pressurize the water to a high-level and it is transferred to shore by pipeline where it will drive hydroelectric turbines to generate power. The high-pressure water can also supply a reverse osmosis water-desalination plant –removing the requirement for the electrically driven pumps (which emit greenhouse gases) that would normally serve such plants. Following the very positive results of the study, the Irish Government will continue to work with Carnegie and key stakeholders to progress the implementation of the project to trial the technology in Atlantic waters.



Scottish Government, in partnership with Irish Government (DCENR), Northern Irish Executive (DETINI).

RPS led the international consultancy team for the Irish Scottish Links Energy Study (ISLES) on behalf of the Scottish, Ireland and Northern Ireland Governments.

The 18-month study examined the potential to connect wind, wave and tidal-energy sites located over a large geographical area and examined aspects such as planning, environment, technology, regulatory, finance and construction. The study found that a subsea grid connecting Scottish, Irish and Northern Irish offshore renewable sites is feasible.

The project led by the RPS Dublin Office has been awarded the 2010 European Structural Funds Best Practice Award for ‘Best Partnership’ working in the use of European Structural Funds.

New Ferry Terminal at Loch Ryan

Loch Ryan Port Development Loch Ryan Port Development

Stena Line Ltd

RPS was appointed as Lead Consultant for the new Ro-Ro facility at Old House Point, Cairnryan.

RPS provided a range of services to the project including:

Lead Design Consultant

Port Masterplanning

Project Management Lead

Site selection based on environmental, geotechnical and logistical aspects

Design and supervision of site investigation – geotechnical, hydrographic and seismic

Port planning including preparation of option layouts for various vessel types and structures

Prepare preliminary designs and liaison with cost consultant to prepare cost profile for various options

Input to Environmental Impact Assessment

Input and management of various consents including:
- Harbour Empowerment Order
- Various Planning consents
- SEPA licencing
- Transport Scotland approvals.

Procurement Services including:
- Administration of Tendering
- Contract Negotiations and award

Project management for linkspan

Detailed Design
- Design of roads and junctions
- Contract Negotiations and award
- Overall surfacing 120,000m2 including heavy duty surfacing for high capacity Ro-Ro HGV vehicles
- 250m Berthing Quay
- Bank Seat Structures
- Sheet piled combi wall 200m
- 750,000m3 dredged material design
- Reclamation strategy
- Coastal processes - 1km of coastal protection

Optimisation of land use areas

Value Engineering through detailed design and construction stages

Site Supervision and Contract Administration under NEC3.

Open Hydro Marine Turbine Device

Open Hydro Open Hydro

Open Hydro Group

RPS was part of the team that delivered various step change achievements for Openhydro and for the tidal energy industry.

RPS has designed three gravity base structures for Openhydro's 6m, 10m and 16m diameter 1MW turbines. RPS has also been involved in the development of Openhydro's innovative deployment and retrieval methods including design of specialist lifting frames and input into the design of Openhydro's deployment barge "Installer". The 6m base was deployed in EMEC in 2007 and the 10m in Bay of Fundy, Canada in 2009. The latest gravity base and 16m turbine was deployed in French waters in 2011.

RPS has also conducted tidal turbine productivity calculations, provided naval architecture advice and procurement services, compiled contract documents, supervised fabrication and undertaken wave and tidal modelling for Openhydro studies.

Shannon Foynes Port Company

Shannon Foynes Port Company Shannon Foynes Port Company

RPS was commissioned to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and an Appropriate Assessment in accordance with Article 6 of the EU Habitats Directive to evaluate the impact of the reclamation of 2.5 ha of foreshore at Shannon Foynes Port.

The Lower River Shannon holds a number of important environmental designations, including Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) areas and hosts a number of rare and protected species, including internationally important numbers of birds such as Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit and Redshank, as well as other protected species such as Bottlenose Dolphins.

The impacts of the proposed reclamation on both the physical and human environment is being examined, with particular attention focussed on the direct and indirect effects of the construction activities and potential increase in operational shipping activity on species and habitats within the SAC and SPA designated areas.

The EIA involves surveys (bathymetric, geotechnical, traffic, archaeological, noise, flora and fauna, wintering and breeding bird counts), modelling (tidal and sediment) and extensive consultations with both statutory and non-statutory organisations. EIA baseline studies were undertaken which fed into the overall EIA, Foreshore Licence and Dumping at Sea applications.

Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary

Strategic Integrated Framework Plan Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary

Clare County Council

Clare County Council acting on behalf of Kerry County Council, Limerick County Council and Limerick City Council are aiming to develop, for the first time, an inter-jurisdictional Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the lands adjoining the Shannon Estuary and the estuary itself.

The aim of the SIFP is to identify the nature and location of future development, economic growth and employment that can be sustainably accommodated within the Shannon Estuary whilst ensuring that the habitat status of the Natura 2000 and other environmentally sensitive sites would not be reduced as a result of the short-term or long-term impact of such developments.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Directive Assessment were also undertaken as part of the overall project.