The environment sector in Ireland

Effectively dealing with environmental challenges is a priority for Ireland. There’s a push for development of more renewable energy, designation of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and tackling water pollution issues resulting from agriculture and wastewater, as well as strategic and specific assessment of the environmental impacts of infrastructure developments. Without question, there is a lot to do.

Ireland faces an ambitious goal to cut carbon emissions by half over the next decade. A key part of that will be making it possible for 70% of energy to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The Government has set a target to develop 3.5 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

The creation of offshore wind farms will also help grow the Irish economy over the next decade. Currently, Ireland has 26 proposed and two operational offshore wind farms.

The EU recently published a Biodiversity Strategy that requires Member States such as Ireland to designate more MPAs to protect endangered marine life, conserve habitats and species, and other natural features.

The current programme for the Irish Government includes a commitment to expand Ireland’s network of MPAs to 10% of its maritime area as soon as it can, as well as an ambitious pledge to expand the MPA network to 30% of Ireland’s maritime area by 2030.

Ireland’s water companies, Irish Water and Northern Ireland Water, have serious problems to tackle, and reducing water leakage is a key area for them both. Irish Water have invested €500 million in fixing leaks to provide a more reliable water supply.

Pollution of raw water at water intakes is another challenge, and many of the issues faced here are due to farming practices combined with diffuse pollution (Ireland is a particularly wet country!).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s State of the Environment review of 2020, the varying treatment standards of water companies can also cause water quality issues that may pose a threat to both people and wildlife.

Ireland also has big goals to improve and expand its infrastructure, increasing connectivity and aiding plans for economic growth. Around €116 billion is to be spent on infrastructure by 2040, on energy, roads and public transport, ports and airports, and water industry-related projects.

APEM are a global environmental consultancy providing independent advice and guidance to support government and environmental regulatory guidelines. With offices throughout the UK, US and of course Ireland, we have specialists on the ground and ready to support clients when they require.

Our integrated expert approach covers all areas of the natural environment, enhanced with innovative remote sensing technology and world-class laboratory services to provide advice reinforced by data excellence. This ensures that we are ideally placed to support Ireland’s ambitious environmental and infrastructure plans and therefore we are delighted to announce several new additions to the team.

Welcoming new members to the APEM team

We have more reasons to celebrate in the Irish office this week as we welcome two new colleagues. The new hires will enable APEM to better support its clients across Ireland with marine and terrestrial ecology, ornithology, and other services. The team is headed up by Dr Eliot Taylor, Divisional Director for Ireland, who joined APEM last September to launch the APEM Ireland office.

Meet our new colleagues Marc Ferns and Randal Counihan.

Marc Ferns

Marc Ferns

Marc is a Senior Marine Field Scientist and will immediately focus on further building a field base from where we can undertake all necessary terrestrial, freshwater, transitional water and marine field and survey work.

He first discovered a fascination with marine creatures as a child visiting the docks in Liverpool where his uncle and grandfather worked and going crabbing with his grandfather. Visiting the maritime museum and aquarium with his parents cemented his interest in the ocean and its wildlife.

He always wanted to be a scientist and followed this dream studying ocean sciences at Bangor University, leading to a career as a marine biologist.

When asked about starting his new position, Marc said:

I’m looking forward to developing some new skills as deepwater operations come with a very specific skill type, as well as getting involved with the business aspects of the company as I found I enjoy project management and contracts. I also look forward to supporting APEM technically as engineering is one of my favourite challenges.

Randal Counihan

Randal Counihan with an owl

Randal is our Senior Marine Consultant working across marine mammals and birds, EIA, AA and NIS for marine projects, amongst other things.

Randal wanted to be nothing else other than a zoologist since he was about 4 years old. He grew up in the West of Ireland on the banks of the Shannon Estuary. The Shannon is home to a resident population of Bottlenose dolphins that have been studied since 1993.

He became a research assistant supporting work with the dolphins when he was 15 and hasn’t looked back since! Randal has been lucky enough to travel throughout his career, from turtle conservation in Greece to researching tropical dolphins in Australia.

When asked about starting his new role, Randal said:

“I look forward to a new challenge and working with the team to build up APEM’s Irish base. Moving to a more office-based senior position will allow me to contribute more to environmental projects. I most look forward to getting back to work with a permanent team, that can build for the future, both for the company and for myself.”

Dr Eliot Taylor, Divisional Director for Ireland, says,

“Having been working by myself here in Ireland since September last year, I’m thrilled to welcome two highly experienced staff like Randal and Marc – with their skills and experience of marine science and ecology, combined with that of the wider APEM Marine Division, we can now really get to work here.”

Eliot introduces himself in this video clip:

We look forward to our new team members settling in and seeing what they will achieve together as our presence in Ireland continues to expand.

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