UK - Services

Services

Marine Environmental Services

RPS provides comprehensive marine environmental services to the public and private sectors together with statutory agencies who have a responsibility for the protection of the marine environment throughout Ireland and the UK.

RPS has built a worldwide reputation providing environmental consultancy expertise to a prestigious client base.

Our services include:

Marine Ecology

Marine Mammal Observers

Coastal Modelling

ESAS ornithologists

Marine Monitoring (Real Time)

Developing Programme of Measures

Environmental Compliance Auditing

Marine Consents, licences and permits

The Marine Environment contains a wealth of resources which at given times can be sensitively explored and utilised. Equally the exploitation of these natural resources needs careful consideration and protection from unsustainable development or exploration. The services which RPS offer in this area include the management of large-scale multi-disciplinary projects covering port development/expansion, marine aggregate extraction, the renewable energy, oil & gas sectors, fisheries and aquaculture, coastal protection, flood defence and provide strategic research to facilitate the development of Government policy. The Marine Environment requires planning permissions, consents, foreshore licence, various environmental assessments including Environmental Impact Assessments and Habitats Directive Assessments all of which require professional consultancy services in the area of marine environmental services for which RPS has a wealth of experience. We help our clients ensure their developments and other relevant activities are sustainable and fully compliant with environmental legislation and policy obligations. In addition RPS can offer a wide spectrum of marine environmental survey and monitoring expertise to assist in planning, licences, consent and other marine related requirements.

Case Studies

Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd

Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd

RPS was commissioned to carry out a detailed site evaluation and conceptual design study examining grid connection feasibility, environmental sensitivities, wave resources and structural issues for the installation of the innovative marine energy technology on the west coast of Ireland.

The CETO wave energy units self-tune to sea-state and wave patterns. The installation is anchored to the ocean floor, and uses seabed pumps which are driven by submerged buoys. The pumps pressurize the water to a high-level and it is transferred to shore by pipeline where it will drive hydroelectric turbines to generate power. The high-pressure water can also supply a reverse osmosis water-desalination plant –removing the requirement for the electrically driven pumps (which emit greenhouse gases) that would normally serve such plants. Following the very positive results of the study, the Irish Government will continue to work with Carnegie and key stakeholders to progress the implementation of the project to trial the technology in Atlantic waters.

Shannon Foynes Port Company

Shannon Foynes Port Company

RPS was commissioned to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and an Appropriate Assessment in accordance with Article 6 of the EU Habitats Directive to evaluate the impact of the reclamation of 2.5 ha of foreshore at Shannon Foynes Port.

The Lower River Shannon holds a number of important environmental designations, including Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) areas and hosts a number of rare and protected species, including internationally important numbers of birds such as Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit and Redshank, as well as other protected species such as Bottlenose Dolphins.

The impacts of the proposed reclamation on both the physical and human environment is being examined, with particular attention focussed on the direct and indirect effects of the construction activities and potential increase in operational shipping activity on species and habitats within the SAC and SPA designated areas.

The EIA involves surveys (bathymetric, geotechnical, traffic, archaeological, noise, flora and fauna, wintering and breeding bird counts), modelling (tidal and sediment) and extensive consultations with both statutory and non-statutory organisations. EIA baseline studies were undertaken which fed into the overall EIA, Foreshore Licence and Dumping at Sea applications.

Sligo Harbour Dredging

Sligo Harbour Dredging

Sligo County Council

RPS was commissioned to prepare a feasibility study to determine a scope for dredging the entrance channel to Sligo Harbour to an optimum depth within a constrained budget.

It was eventually determined that the optimum depth for the navigation channel was to dredge to -3.0m C.D. which will allow a three hour window for passage of vessels up to 4,000 DWT to the quay during high water.

The proposed dredging will generate 250,000m³ of dredge spoil and RPS undertook a further study to examine the alternatives for disposing of the dredge spoil in detail. The spoil was considered to be unsuitable for reuse in engineering projects or reclamation and consequently it was determined that the material would be disposed of at an offshore dump site. RPS was then commissioned to undertake the necessary studies to address the potential impact of the proposed development on both the physical and human environment, with particular attention focussed on the sensitive habitats within the Sligo Harbour SAC, SPA, Ramsar and EU Shellfish waters within the study area. A Natura Impact Assessment under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive was also undertaken for the scheme. The scope of the studies extended to the offshore dump site and detailed consultations were held with the local fishermen and Fisheries Authorities to ensure that their needs were safeguarded ahead of the Dumping at Sea Licence application being lodged with the EPA.

Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary

Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary

Clare County Council

Clare County Council acting on behalf of Kerry County Council, Limerick County Council and Limerick City Council are aiming to develop, for the first time, an inter-jurisdictional Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the lands adjoining the Shannon Estuary and the estuary itself.

The aim of the SIFP is to identify the nature and location of future development, economic growth and employment that can be sustainably accommodated within the Shannon Estuary whilst ensuring that the habitat status of the Natura 2000 and other environmentally sensitive sites would not be reduced as a result of the short-term or long-term impact of such developments.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Directive Assessment were also undertaken as part of the overall project.

The Islandmagee Gas Storage Project

The Islandmagee Gas Storage Project

Infrastrata plc

RPS was commissioned to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment and prepare an Environmental Statement for a proposed scheme to store 500million cubic metres of compressed natural gas in caverns excavated within a geological salt layer located approximately 1 mile beneath Larne Lough, Co. Antrim.

The caverns will be excavated by means of solution mining, which involves injecting sea water into the salt layer and disposing of the waste product, a brine solution, by outfall into the North Channel. The waters surrounding the project area hold SPA and candidate marine SAC designations in addition to local aquaculture sites occurring within a EU designated shellfish water. A Habitats Directive Assessment was also required to fully examine the potential impacts on the sensitive habitats and species within the area. Detailed 3D computational modelling was undertaken to determine the fate of the brine, which has the potential to cause environmental impacts if it is not successfully dispersed. The terrestrial elements of the project received planning permission in October 2012 and the marine consent licence applications including marine construction and discharge licences are currently being considered by the NIEA.

Tidal Ventures Ltd

Tidal Ventures Ltd

RPS were commissioned by Tidal Ventures Ltd (TVL), a joint venture between Bord Gáis Energy and OpenHydro Technology Ltd, to assist them with Project Development Support in their bid to get an Agreement for Lease (AfL) from the Crown Estate to investigate the feasibility of developing a commercial scale 100MW tidal energy array in the waters offshore of Torr Head on the north east coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland.

RPS carried out coastal process modelling and GIS environmental constraint modelling to assist TVL in selecting their preferred site for licencing. RPS provided environmental awareness reporting and detailed mapping in support of the application to the Crown Estate. In October 2012 TVL was awarded an Agreement for Lease (AfL) from the Crown Estate to investigate the development of the tidal energy project in Northern Irish waters. The award was made as part of Northern Ireland’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Action Plan and was the result of a competitive tender process. RPS have continued to support TVL in their proposal with Environmental Impact Assessment and Marine Health and Safety services.