Providing ecology expertise from Oughterard and Clifden

06 Jun 2018

RPS has been providing environmental consultancy services to Galway County Council for the Connemara Greenway since 2011.

The Connemara Greenway Project is a 56km walking/cycle track on the dismantled Galway to Clifden railway line from Oughterard to Clifden.

The Greenway project has been developed in an extremely sensitive location, running almost entirely through European Sites (SACs and SPAs). It required extensive surveying and assessment of impacts to seven Annex I habitats and five Annex II species.

RPS has been providing environmental consultancy services to Galway County Council since 2011. Our team has prepared the constraints study, environmental impact statement, natura impact statement and planning application which was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in May 2012. The project also required considerable consultation with the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, landowners and members of the public.

Paula Kearney, Chartered Ecologist with CIEEM and RPS Project Manager, was an expert witness at the Oral Hearing in December 2012. Consent for the greenway was granted in March 2013.

Due to the environmental sensitivity of the receiving environment, RPS Ecologists Sheila Murphy and Colin Heaslip were appointed as Ecological Clerk of Works for weekly monitoring during the construction works.

The project is being driven by local community groups in Clifden, Recess and Oughterard with support from Fáilte Ireland, Galway County Council and Forum Connemara Ltd. The recently completed 6km section of the route between Athry and Cloonbeg, was opened on Monday 28th May by Galway County Cathaoirleach Eileen Mannion.

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