Ireland - Services

Services

Marine

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

RPS services include strategic research to inform government policy development and the management of large multidisciplinary projects including oil and gas projects, renewable energy, fisheries and aquaculture, coastal protection and flood defence. We provide integrated services including underwater acoustics, noise and vibration, marine mammals, marine ornithology, renewable energy development, marine planning and project communications.

Our multidisciplinary teams of ecologists, scientists, engineers and planners 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, licences, consents and other marine related requirements.

Our services:

Marine Ecology (incl. sampling & reporting)

Consents, Licensing & Permits

Environmental Assessment (incl. SEA, EIA & AA)

Environmental Compliance Auditing

Coastal Modelling

Marine Mammal Observation

Monitoring (real time)

Surveys

Geohazard Assessment

Oil Spill Modelling

Project Management

Decision Support Systems

Geographical Information Systems

Habitat Mapping & Sensitivity Analysis

Met Ocean Modelling

Underwater Acoustics, Noise & Vibration

Case Studies

Irish Scottish Links on Energy Study

 

 

RPS was the lead consultant and contracted party on a study examining the feasibility of constructing an offshore trans-boundary electricity grid linking Ireland, Northern Ireland and the west coast of Scotland.

The 18-month INTERREG IVA funded study examined the potential to connect wind, wave and tidal energy sites located across a large geographical area. Funded by the EU Commission, the project was supported by governments in Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A multidisciplinary team led by RPS reported continually to a steering group drawn from the governments.

The study defined development pathways for the delivery of the trans-boundary grid and examined aspects such as environmental and engineering constraints, planning and permitting requirements, constructability and deployment, technology and infrastructure, regulatory requirements and finance issues. This broad remit required the involvement of a multidisciplinary team with RPS as lead consultant providing project and programme management, planning, environmental and civil engineering advice supported by sub- consultants TNEI, PPA and IHC.

The project involved targeted consultation with industry and selected statutory stakeholders including Transmission System Operators (TSOs) across three jurisdictions and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), technology developers, project developers, high voltage cable suppliers and experts in the deployment of subsea cable. An analysis of the status of HVDC/HVAC cable technologies and relevant supply-chain issues was also undertaken.

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 (MSFD) Project

 

 

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. These projects were to ensure Ireland meets its obligations with regard to the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

The following MSFD Projects were delivered by RPS under the guidance of the Marine Institute and the Department of the Environment by means of a Project Steering Group:

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 (http://atlas.marine.ie/)

Preparation of a monitoring programme for the Irish Marine Environment including an implementation roadmap from 2014 – 2020. This has formed the basis of ongoing work on a national monitoring programme for the Irish marine environment

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. This included active collaboration with stakeholders during the development of the work outputs and the design, development and delivery of a public consultation process including summary documentation, public information days and consultation feedback reporting

Completion of all reporting obligations to the European Union including the development of reporting schema to meet the evolving requirements of the European Environment Agency (EEA)

The work on the first cycle of MSFD required the development of a collaborative framework approach across scientific disciplines and the creation of a policy relevant context for the work. RPS provided scientific consultancy services including scientific secretariat functions, chaired technical working groups and expert consultative groups, and completed all Cycle 1 reporting to the European Commission.

Natura 2000 Intertidal Benthic Sampling & Analysis

 

 

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

The project, sponsored by the Marine Institute, supported national efforts with regard to Appropriate Assessment of the impact of aquaculture activities on Natura 2000 sites, including Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Specially Protected Areas (SPAs), as required under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive. The study investigated the impacts of trestle oyster aquaculture on the surrounding intertidal sedimentary habitats and associated communities.

RPS was commissioned to design and execute extensive benthic surveys at six cultivation sites within designated Natura 2000 sites to inform the development of a systematic approach to assess and compare impacts associated with culture activity across multiple geographical sites across Ireland. The novel approach developed by RPS involved using Water Framework Directive tools to compare communities and habitats across sites based on the sensitivity of faunal communities to disturbance impacts. This 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.

Our approach also provides a means for assessing the conservation status and relative effectiveness of conservation objectives for communities and habitats under the Habitats Directive. Applying this common approach to assessments for the Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive has the potential to strengthen both Directives and may be used as justification for future attempts towards integrating sampling programmes. Integrating sampling programmes would present an efficient way of addressing Ireland’s monitoring obligations under the Directives.