Marine Science

RPS provides comprehensive marine environmental services to the public and private sectors throughout Ireland and the EU.

We help our clients to ensure their developments and activities are sustainable and fully compliant with environmental legislation and policy obligations.

Our services include strategic research to inform government policy development and the management of large multidisciplinary projects including port development, marine aggregate extraction, renewable energy, oil and gas projects, fisheries and aquaculture, coastal protection and flood defence. We provide integrated services in underwater acoustics, noise and vibration.

Our multidisciplinary teams of ecologists, scientists and engineers deliver sensitive environmental projects from initial assessment through design, implementation, remediation and monitoring stages. We undertake ecological studies, monitoring and surveys to support the environmental assessment process and assist in planning, licensing, consents and other marine related requirements.

Our services include:

Marine ecology (including sampling and reporting)

Interpretation and compliance with marine legislation and EU Directives

Marine consents, licensing and permits

Marine mammal observation

Coastal modelling

Marine monitoring (real time)

Met ocean modelling and equipment supply

ESAS ornithology

Environmental compliance auditing

Underwater acoustics modelling

Oil spill modelling

Case Studies

Applications for Approval to Conduct Geophysical Survey Offshore Ireland

Applications for Approval to Conduct Geophysical Survey Offshore Ireland


RPS provide specialist environmental services to the Oil and Gas industry for submission of Applications for Approval to Conduct a Geophysical Survey in accordance with the Rules & Procedures Manual of the Petroleum Affairs Division.

RPS provides support to seismic exploration companies in the Irish Continental Shelf in the preparation of applications for approvals to the Petroleum Affairs Division (PAD) of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE). RPS works closely with the exploration companies to define the scope and extents of the seismic survey activities in order to assess the environmental impacts of the proposed seismic survey activities. RPS produces the following reports in support of applications:

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening

Appropriate Assessment (AA) screening, including Article 6 and Article 12

Environmental risk assessment report

Environmental package submission

Technical package submission

Fisheries pre-survey support

Seismic survey acoustic modelling

Draft marine notices

Vessel change assessments

Carnegie Wave Energy

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 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.

Dunquin Well

Dunquin Well


RPS provided in-country environmental and oil spill planning support for all permitting and licensing in relation to the Dunquin Well in the Porcupine Seabight.

RPS provided environmental support services to Exxon Mobil for the drilling of the Dunquin Well including:

EIA and AA Screening

Oil Spill and Cuttings Discharge Modelling

Permit to Use and Discharge Added Chemicals (PUDAC)

Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

Oil Spill Contingency Plan (OSCP)

Post-Well Reporting

OV survey planning

Waste Management Plan



Governments of Ireland, Northern Ireland & Scotland

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 was awarded the 2010 European Structural Funds Best Practice Award for ‘Best Partnership’ working in the use of European Structural Funds.

Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Open Hydro Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Marine Institute

RPS was appointed as expert advisor and project partner by the Marine Institute and Department of the Environment to assist in the delivery of six projects to ensure Ireland meets its obligations with regard to the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

The six MSFD projects delivered by RPS under the guidance of the Marine Institute and the Department of the Environment were:

Preparation of a draft Initial Assessment, including the development of an Index of Indicators and proposal for draft Environmental Targets

Data collection, processing and digitising to build an Atlas of the Irish Marine Environment (

Preparation of a monitoring programme for the Irish Marine Environment including an implementation roadmap from 2014 – 2020.

Preparation of the draft programme of measures for the MSFD and its development through collaboration and consultation with a wide range of national and international stakeholders

Public consultation and stakeholder engagement obligations during all stages of the process.

Completion of all reporting obligations to the European Union between 2012 and 2016.

The work on the first cycle of MSFD was ground breaking; it had never been done before. It required the development of a collaborative framework approach across scientific disciplines and the creation of a policy context for the work as the programme of measures work was developed. RPS provided scientific consultancy services including secretariat functions, chairing of technical and consultative groups and completed all Cycle 1 reporting to the European Commission.

NATURA 2000 Intertidal Benthic Sampling and Analysis

NATURA 2000 Intertidal Benthic Sampling and Analysis

Marine Institute

RPS undertook a scientific study assessing the impact of aquaculture activities on the status of communities and habitats designated under the Habitats Directive.

The study investigated the impacts of trestle oyster aquaculture on the surrounding intertidal sedimentary habitats and associated communities. RPS was appointed to design and execute extensive benthic surveys at six cultivation sites within designated Natura 2000 sites. Our team developed a systematic approach to assess and compare impacts associated with culture activity on intertidal habitats across multiple geographical sites across Ireland.

The novel approach developed by RPS involved using Water Framework Directive tools to compare communities and habitats across Natura 2000 sites based on the sensitivity of faunal communities to disturbance impacts. The approach highlighted the potential of Water Framework Directive tools for the management of aquaculture activity and successfully delivered the information required to support national efforts in assessing potential impacts from aquaculture operations.


Open Hydro OpenHydro

OpenHydro Group

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

RPS 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 their deployment barge "Installer". The 6m base was deployed in EMEC in 2007 and the 10m in Bay of Fundy, Canada in 2009. The later 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.

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.