Ireland - Services

Services

Water Framework Directive Services (WFD)

RPS is at the forefront of integrated river basin management in Ireland.

Water is a precious natural resource. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) was adopted by the EU in 2000 to halt and reverse the trend of declining water quality measured across Europe in recent decades. RPS has been at the forefront of WFD implementation in Ireland since it was transposed into Irish law in 2003, and has been involved in catchment management projects as far back as the 1990s. RPS was involved in the implementation of the WFD in six of Ireland’s eight River Basin Districts (RBDs), namely the South Eastern, Shannon, South Western, North Eastern, North Western and Neagh Bann RBDs. RPS was also involved in the development of related plans and programmes, including the development of Shellfish Pollution Reduction Plans under the EU Shellfish Directive, the development of Freshwater Pearl Mussel Sub-basin Management Plans and, more recently, the development of Flood Risk Managament Plans in the Eastern, South Eastern, North Western and Neagh Bann RBDs under the Floods Directive.

RPS offers decades of experience in catchment-based assessment and management activities and has gained broad experience in implementing common strategies and approaches which is crucial to the successful and effective implementation of community legislation and cooperative agreements.

Case Studies

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Projects

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Projects

Donegal County Council, Dept. of Environment, Community, and Local Government

RPS provided consultancy services for the development of Freshwater Pearl Mussel/Sub-basin Management Plans and is providing consultancy servies for a new Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project grant aided under the EU's INTERREG IVA Programme.

Freshwater Pearl Mussels are included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive and because they are particularly sensitive to environmental pressures, require catchment-specific measures in addition to the Water Framework Directive Programme of Measures to ensure that their water-related habitat requirements are achieved.

RPS was appointed to prepare Freshwater Pearl Mussel Sub-Basin Management Plans for 27 Freshwater Pearl Mussel catchments. Following initial desk based assessments and publication of consultation plans, an extensive programme of catchment investigations and monitoring took place over a two year period. The main pressures and risks within the catchments were identified and ecological quality objectives established and outlined in the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Regulations, 2009. This project was a key step in the implementation of both the Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive in Ireland.

The current project involves preparation of management plans for a number of catchments, building on the draft Sub-basin Management Plans. The plans will identify issues relevant to mussel conservation, and propose realistic solutions. Testing of protection measures will be carried out to establish what actions are likely to be effective and cost efficient. Agriculture, forestry and septic tank systems are key areas for consideration. Codes of Practice will be drafted to allow for a sustainable approach that prevents impact on mussels. These will assist agencies, local authorities, public authorities and key stakeholders in relation to proposed developments, works and activities within Freshwater Pearl Mussel catchments.

North South Shared Aquatic Resources Projects

North South Shared Aquatic Resources Projects

Dept. of Environment, Community, and Local Government (Republic of Ireland), Dept. of Environment (Northern Ireland).

RPS was commissioned to provide consultancy services for the North South Shared Aquatic Resources Project, the NS2 Project and the NS2 Extentsion Project, all Water Framework Directive implementation projects.

A multi-disciplinary approach was adopted, with specialist project teams addressing specific areas of interest while maintaining communication with other teams and stakeholders, under the coordination of an overall project core team.

The projects included:

Characterisation of the districts, their waters, pressures and physical characteristics

Development of River Basin Management Plans

Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Directive Assessment

Significant stakeholder consultation and public participation

Development of ecological classification tools

Development of a national WebGIS viewer (WaterMaps) covering all water bodies nationally and providing background information to stakeholders in support of the River Basin Management Plans

Development of a national database of the status, protected area interests, objectives and programme of measures for all surface and groundwater bodies

Development of a measures prioritisation procedure

Prepararion of the WFD Article 13 reporting to the EU WISE System

Liaison with with Northern Ireland authorities to ensure agreement on status and objectives for cross-border surface and ground water bodies

Development of Water Management Unit Action Plans for smaller sub catchments within the wider River Basin Districts.


Shannon International River Basin District Project

Shannon International River Basin District Project

Dept. of Environment, Community and Local Government

RPS was commissioned by the Dept. of Environment, Community, and Local Government as lead consultant on the Shannon River Basin District Project.

A multi-disciplinary approach was adopted, with specialist project teams addressing specific areas of interest while maintaining communication with other teams and stakeholders, under the coordination of an overall project core team.

The project included

extensive data collection

legislative review

characterisation of the district, it’s waters, pressures and physical characteristics

establishment of WFD-compliant monitoring programmes

establishment of the status of all waters in the district;

assessment and classification of heavily modified water bodies

development of clear objectives for water bodies and a programme of measures to achieve these objectives

development of River Basin Management Plans

development of an environmental management system

Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Directive Assessment

significant stakeholder consultation and public participation.


Shellfish Pollution Reduction Programme Project

Shellfish Pollution Reduction Programme Project

Dept. of Environment, Community, and Local Government

RPS was appointed to prepare Shellfish Pollution Reduction Programmes (PRPs) for Ireland’s 64 designated shellfish areas in accordance with the Shellfish Directive.

Supporting Characterisation Reports were developed for each shellfish area to establish an initial assessment of compliance with shellfish water quality standards and, following examination of the various pressures and impacts within the catchment of each shellfish area, provide a prioritised list of pressures on water quality in each designated shellfish area.

The Shellfish PRPs identified site-specific actions to be taken in relation to the prioritised pressures to ensure that compliance with shellfish standards is achieved. Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Directive Assessment processes were carried out in tandem with the PRP development process.

The actions specified in the PRPs are derived from the Programmes of Measures outlined in the Water Framework Directive River Basin Management Plans, reflecting the common objective to improve water quality in the two Directives. In addition, designated shellfish areas are part of the Water Framework Register of Protected Areas, providing a further link between the Pollution Reduction Programmes and River Basin Management Planning.

South Eastern River Basin District Project

South Eastern River Basin District Project

Dept. of Environment, Community and Local Government

RPS and Mott MacDonald Pettit, were commissioned by the Dept. of Environment, Community, and Local Government as consultant on the South Eastern River Basin District Project.

A multi-disciplinary approach was adopted, with specialist project teams addressing specific areas of interest while maintaining communication with other teams and stakeholders, under the coordination of an overall project core team.

The project included:

extensive data collection;

legislative review;

characterisation of the district, it’s waters, pressures and physical characteristics;

establishment of a WFD-compliant monitoring programme;

establishment of environmental quality standards;

investigation of dangerous substance useage in Ireland;

establishment of the status of all waters in the district;

development of clear objectives and a programme of measures to achieve these objectives;

development of River Basin Management Plans;

development of an environmental management system;

Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Directive Assessment;

significant stakeholder consultation and public participation.


South Western River Basin District Project

South Western River Basin District Project

Dept. of Environment, Community and Local Government

RPS and Mott MacDonald Pettit were commissioned by the Dept. of Environment, Community, and Local Government as consultant on the South Western River Basin District Project.

A multi-disciplinary approach was adopted, with specialist project teams addressing specific areas of interest while maintaining communication with other teams and stakeholders, under the coordination of an overall project core team.

The project included:

extensive data collection

legislative review

characterisation of the district, it’s waters, pressures and physical characteristics

development of a database of municipal and industrial point source pressures

application of cost effectiveness analysis in relation to certain measures

establishment of a WFD-compliant monitoring programme

establishment of the status of all waters in the district;

development of clear objectives and a programme of measures to achieve these objectives

development of River Basin Management Plans

development of an environmental management system

Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Directive Assessment

significant stakeholder consultation and public participation.