Ireland - Services

Services

Environment

RPS helps our clients understand and respond appropriately to the increasing complexity of environmental legislation, pressures and conflicts, whether that includes climate mitigation / adaptation, water management, achieving renewable energy targets or resource efficiency.

We provide advice to clients across the public and private sectors throughout all stages of a project’s lifecycle. This includes strategic environmental assessment of major policies, assessment of individual projects and developments and management of the construction and operational phases including implementation of mitigation measures.

With our scale and wide range of specialists, RPS offers an integrated service that places the principles of sustainability at the core of our work to ensure that environmental issues are comprehensively addressed.

We advise clients on environmental policy and strategy for their organisations in order to drive environmental improvement and performance. RPS has also developed guidance in relation to a range of complex environmental legislation in partnership with regulators.

Our services include:

Environmental Impact Assessment

Strategic Environmental Assessment

Ecology

Appropriate Assessment

WFD Implementation

Human Health

GIS & Data Management

Acoustics & Air Quality

Due Diligence

Contaminated Land & Hydrogeology

Licensing & Compliance

Health & Safety

Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility

Risk Management

Case Studies

Baseline Environmental Assessment for Grid in the Irish and North Seas

 

 

The Baseline Environmental Assessment for the EU Offshore Electricity Grid in the Irish and North Seas (BEAGINS) was published in 2017. It was authored jointly by RPS and ECOFYS who were tasked by the European Commission to prepare an environmental baseline study based on a regional concept of renewable energy sources, energy storage and a meshed electricity grid in the North and Irish Seas. This was to ensure that environmental concerns and impacts were appropriately considered at an early stage in the development of such an offshore energy grid system.

RPS, using in-house GIS resources, was engaged in accessing and compiling data registers and a data catalogue to support desktop research into the baseline conditions. The project team also undertook significant consultation with the target Member States to elicit feedback on the Regional Plan and the scope of the baseline study.

The study focused particularly on opportunities for coordination between Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. The development of an offshore renewable energy system, including grid infrastructure, in the Irish and North Seas represents a significant opportunity towards meeting the European Union’s energy goals. The region has a vast renewable energy potential that could provide a significant share of Europe’s power supply by 2030. The study and associated report is intended to inform any future plans for renewable energy generation, energy storage, grid cables and associated equipment in the Irish and North Seas.

Six recommendations were identified from the baseline study to set building blocks towards creating a backdrop where coordination is facilitated across member states. These include:

Development of an appropriate planning framework

Coordinated infrastructure roll-out

Development of an appropriate management framework

Data management and storage

Haulbowline Island – East Tip Remediation

 

 

Haulbowline Island was the location of Ireland’s only steelworks which operated between 1939 and 2001. From the early 1960s, waste from the steel production process was deposited on an area of reclaimed foreshore, which became known as the ‘East Tip’.

The East Tip predominantly comprises stockpiles of waste slag and mill scale throughout the 9 hectare site. The overall Haubowline Island Remediation Project represents a multimillion Euro investment by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, through their agent Cork County Council. The island, which is also home to the Irish Naval Service, only has one land-based access point across two bridges and this infrastructure also needed significant upgrades to facilitate the remediation project.

RPS provided environmental and engineering consultancy services for the preparation of an outline remediation design, EIS, waste licence application and planning application for the East Tip. A planning application for the remediation of the East Tip and its transformation into a public recreational amenity was approved by An Bord Pleanála in May 2014 and a waste licence was subsequently granted by the EPA in July 2014. RPS is also providing design, procurement and contract management services to facilitate the delivery of the remediation solution.

Remedial works designed by RPS began in 2014 with the repair of the bridges to the island and the upgrading of the access road. Most recently, RPS has managed a number of advance works contracts (including demolition, site clearance and preparatory works) through detailed design and construction completion. The main remediation works contract commenced construction in July 2017 and is delivering a sustainable design solution through re-profiling of the site, construction of a perimeter engineered structure around the East Tip and installation of engineered capping and surface water drainage systems. The ultimate landscape masterplan which is currently being delivered will comprise a public parkland amenity with picturesque views of Cork Harbour. It is envisaged that construction work will be substantially complete by the end of 2018.

SEA & AA of National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change

 

 

Ireland’s first National Mitigation Plan on climate change was published in 2017 and represented a huge initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to achieve the level of decarbonisation required and transition to a low carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050.

RPS carried out the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment of the National Mitigation Plan on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment. The Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment were critical inputs to the development of the plan. Both documents ensured that environmental concerns were integrated into the decision-making and implementation process at both sectoral and national level.

Some of the proposals within the plan include:

Reducing motorway speed limits from 120km/h to 110km/h for cars and from 90km/h to 80 km/h for heavy goods vehicles

Decarbonising electricity generation

Electrification of the rail line to Balbriggan

Further incentives for low-emission vehicles (including electric vehicles)

Continuation of agricultural decarbonisation measures

To support this ongoing work, the Plan includes over 100 individual actions for various Ministers and public bodies to take forward to implementation of what will be a living document. The Plan begins the process of development of medium to long term mitigation choices for the next and future decades.