Ireland - Services

Services

Ecology

Our expert ecologists and scientists ensure that our clients’ projects are fully compliant with environmental regulations and statutory requirements and avoid unnecessary delays.

We have in-house specialists in terrestrial ecology, mammal ecology, freshwater and marine ecology, habitat management plans, invasive species management and conservation legislation and plans. We carry out field surveys, baseline surveys, site appraisals, protected species surveys, habitat surveys, habitat mapping, designated area condition surveys, and a range of services for aquatic, terrestrial, coastal and marine areas.

Our ecologists offer cost-effective and practical solutions for all types of development. By identifying key constraints and opportunities early on in a project’s development, we devise and coordinate appropriate measures to avoid or minimise any negative ecological issues.

Under the EU Habitats Directive, an Appropriate Assessment (AA) must be carried out where a plan or project is likely to have a significant impact on a Natura 2000 site (this includes Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), candidate SACs, Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and proposed SPAs). We have significant experience in the AA process and preparation of AA Screening Reports and Natura Impact Statements / Reports. We facilitate the AA process in a comprehensive, scientific, professional and objective manner from assessment of site-specific constraints on projects to assessment of national plans and strategies.

Case Studies

Connemara Greenway Project – Clifden to Oughterard

 

 

The Connemara Greenway Project – Clifden to Oughterard is a community driven project by local community groups in Clifden, Recess and Oughterard with support from Fáilte Ireland, Galway County Council and Forum Connemara Ltd. The project comprises the development of a walking/cycle track (Greenway) along the dismantled Galway to Clifden railway line from Oughterard to Clifden.

RPS was appointed by Galway County Council to prepare the constraints study, invasive species surveys, Screening for AA, NIS and EIA for the project. The Connemara Greenway comprises the routing of a linear project through an extremely environmentally sensitive area in the West of Ireland, running almost entirely through European Sites (SACs, SPAs). It required extensive site survey and assessment of impacts to sensitive habitats and species. The project also required public consultation and a considerable level of consultation by RPS with the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Inland Fisheries Ireland.

RPS prepared the planning application which was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in May 2012 for consent and an Oral Hearing was held in December 2012, during which RPS proved expert witness evidence. Consent was granted in March 2013.

Due to our considerable knowledge of the project and the sensitivities of the receiving environment, RPS is currently commissioned by Galway County Council to provide the Ecological Clerk of Works role during the construction stage of this project.

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Sub-Basin Management Plans

 

 

RPS was commissioned by the then Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to develop 27 Freshwater Pearl Mussel Sub-Basin Management Plans for the waters designated for protection under EU legislation in 2009.

RPS carried out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the 27 Plans. The Plans are an important part of the delivery of Ireland’s commitments under both the Water Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive. Although the Plans will contribute toward management of designated Natura 2000 sites, screening for AA identified the potential for indirect impacts on other protected species such as kingfisher as a result of implementation of the measures. As a result, an AA was undertaken and a Natura Impact Statement was produced together with the SEA and the 27 Plans.

Lough Talt Regional Water Supply Scheme (RWSS)

 

 

The Lough Talt Regional Water Supply Scheme (RWSS) is a public water supply scheme located in south west County Sligo, fed from Lough Talt and serving a population of 13,663. Lough Talt is located within the Lough Hoe Bog SAC and it is proposed to upgrade the existing water treatment plant.

RPS was appointed to prepare a Screening for AA and NIS for the scheme, which included detailed habitats surveys of the qualifying interests of the European site including blanket bog and species surveys including Vertigo geyeri, otter and white clawed crayfish.

Potential impacts on the hydrological functioning of a fen supporting Vertigo geyeri, as a result of water abstraction was recognised early on in the project assessments. Extensive hydrogeological investigation and monitoring was required and specialist Vertigo surveys were procured. Ecological supervision was provided during invasive geotechnical surveys in Vertigo habitat. The project is ongoing.