Environmental developments  

Here is the latest environmental news in Ireland, all positive steps towards boosting Ireland’s environmental credentials.

Bord na Mona, a semi-state body for Ireland, has recently been rebranded from a brown to a green company. This is due to their shift away from harvesting peat and, instead, being given a duty to restore peat bogs. This is a key step in helping to protect this vital habitat and tackling climate change.

Meanwhile, the National Parks and Wildlife Service is undergoing a review which will likely lead to a strengthening of its remit and position in government ensuring it can do more to benefit wildlife and the environment.

The National Marine Planning Framework has also been approved by the Irish government, paving the way for offshore wind development. We’re excited to see what opportunities this brings.

And finally, the next version of the River Basin Management Plan has been published. The Plan sets out the actions that Ireland will take to improve water quality and achieve ‘good’ ecological status in water bodies (rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters) by 2027.

Our work in Ireland

We recently worked on an exciting project with Ryan Hanley to develop a new cycleway along the River Shannon.

As this work could impact the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the River Shannon and River Fergus Estuaries Special Protection Area (SPA), Ryan Hanley are completing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Nature Impact Statement (NIS) to assess impacts.

To support this, APEM were commissioned to undertake a walkover of the proposed route to form the baseline for the aquatic habitat and to identify areas of potential constraints.

The team recorded the river condition including any changes in condition and potential constraints within the project boundaries. The walkover included checks for suitability of the site to support fish, for the presence of any notable or protected species and for invasive species.

The results of the walkover will provide detail to inform the assessments required for the work. The assessments, to be compiled by APEM, in conjunction with Ryan Hanley, will provide advice on mitigation required to ensure there is no harm caused to protected habitats or species during the project. In getting this early assessment of the baseline conditions of the project area, Ryan Hanley have demonstrated excellent forward planning, giving a more detailed representation of the work programme that will be required for the project.

Other work we have been involved in is the Emerald Project for our client Simply Blue Energy Kinsale. It is a proposed floating offshore windfarm (FOW) in the Celtic Sea, off the south coast of Ireland. The joint venture company Simply Blue Energy Kinsale aims to develop a 1.3 GW floating windfarm which is enough energy to power the equivalent of 1,043,000 homes!

This partnership combines the floating wind track-record and local knowledge of Simply Blue Energy with Shell’s offshore experience, floating wind expertise and an ability to develop large complex projects.

The Emerald Project is a great example of the shift to greener energy as it is located close to the Kinsale gas fields, currently being decommissioned. This project will use state-of-the-art renewable floating wind-powered generators. You can find out more about this exciting project here.

New hires in Ireland

We welcome Maeve Riley and Bláithín Ní Aínín who both started as Senior Ecology Consultants earlier this month.

Maeve Riley

Maeve has been working full-time in consultancy for almost 10 years. She started surveys whilst studying for her master’s degree in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne as a sub-consultant carrying out bat and great crested newt (GCN) surveys.

This led her to working part-time in a consultancy and Maeve loved the different projects that came in the door. She decided that she wanted to continue a career full-time in this field.

Maeve says about her job,

It is so rewarding to be in a career where you can make a difference to Ireland’s biodiversity. I enjoy making sure that species and habitats native to our small island are protected while working with clients to ensure that they can carry out the remit of their projects.

It is so enjoyable going out on sunny days to gather data and although some mornings can be early, watching dawn breaking while out on site makes up for the early alarm call! While we cannot be fair weather ecologists and do have to go out on an Irish “soft” day, being able to work outside on a warm sunny day makes up for that!

I am excited to get working on a diversity of projects that we have coming though as well helping to grow the Irish sector for APEM.

APEM are such a diverse company and the range of projects and opportunities to work with is very attractive. With the company’s policy for training and CPD I am looking forward to growing within my role and to work on new projects which will diversify my skillset.

Bláithín’s new role will involve a mixture of field work, data analysis, project management and delivery, writing tenders, stakeholder engagement and marketing and sales.

Bláithín has always been interested in the natural world but fell in love with freshwater ecology as an undergraduate studying Environmental Biology.

She looked at populations of invasive freshwater shrimp in a small stream for her thesis. Here she began to understand the incredible level of biodiversity in our natural waters.

Bláithín says about her job,

I really enjoy being outside and having the opportunity to understand more about different environments. I particularly like answering questions for different stakeholders and clients, be they about water quality, a particular ecosystem, or perhaps about achieving an integrated solution to an issue. I love learning new skills.

I am really looking forward to getting my hands wet and being out in the field, and in getting stuck into some interesting new projects. I am delighted to be a part of the team in Ireland, and being a part of the broader APEM company, given its excellent reputation. I’m also looking forward to meeting my new colleagues!

 

Welcome aboard Maeve and Bláithín! We are recruiting in Ireland so if you would like to join us check out our vacancies here.