Public infrastructure projects such as the delivery of road, rail, port and flood defense infrastructure have never been more necessary, but have never been scrutinised as closely or opposed as vigorously. Projects that are often accepted as being in the common good, will inevitably give rise to objections from some quarters for some reason. Therefore, these projects must be progressed methodically and following the highest standards to ensure the final design is fully considered, and stands the best possible chance of securing consent while being accepted as being in the common good.
Particularly in the realm of public infrastructure projects, the planning process, environmental impact assessment process and the requirements of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and appropriate assessment (AA) process have become inextricably linked. Any significant public infrastructure project will have to be acutely aware of the inter-relationships between these three processes, and more often than not will have to address the requirements of all three processes.
Given the propensity for legal challenges to such infrastructure projects, and the long timeframes associated with project design and planning processes, the intricacies and requirements of these three separate processes must be individually and collectively addressed for a project to secure consent and withstand challenge.
With planning, environmental impact assessment and ecology are core company specialisms, MKO are extremely well-positioned to help deliver public infrastructure projects that take account of current and emerging requirements and improve industry best-practice.
Public Infrastructure – Key Services
They are also written to be practical and aware of the need to implement design and mitigation measures during a project’s construction/operation phase. We project manage client, design team and specialist inputs, and meet our client’s deadlines. Our EIA experience spans every industry sector. Projects and clients benefit from the combined experience of all our company’s staff, who have refined our EIA knowledge and practices over decades of work in this field.
We prepare comprehensive and fit-for-purpose Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIA) as either stand-alone reports or for use as chapters of an EIS/EIAR. The scope of each EcIA is tailored to the specific client’s requirements of their site and project.
They can be targeted at a specific ecological subject matter of relevance, or span the full spectrum of ecology, from terrestrial habitats, flora and fauna, to freshwater, marine and avian ecology. Our EcIA are solutions-focused, proposing ways to mitigate potential impacts rather than just identify problems. Our clients benefit from the EcIA experience we bring to their projects, from having worked on some of the country’s largest infrastructure projects.
LVIA is a core company specialism, with our approach to projects being informed by our specialist landscape architecture, planning and environmental staff. We use qualitative and quantitative methodologies in our landscape policy, landscape character assessment and visual impact assessment work on projects of every size, from large scale wind farms to single houses.
We prepare detailed photo-realistic visualisations, wireframe models and other visual tools to help stakeholders visualise a project’s scale, size and setting in the receiving landscape. Our project-specific, tailored approach to LVIA has proven to be effective on multiple large scale infrastructure projects.
Using a rigorous process, we identify & select optimum sites for projects. We use GIS mapping to identify key planning and environmental constraints, and opportunity areas outside the constraints that can accommodate a development project.
It can be difficult enough to secure project consents, without starting with the wrong site. We help select the optimum site for a development, which gives the project the best possible chance of success. The consideration of alternatives (including alternative sites) is a key requirement for EIA projects, and we help applicants demonstrate they have selected the best site in an area, county or region, for their chosen project.
We have the largest private-sector ornithology survey team in Ireland, capable of being deployed on large-scale surveys along with dedicated support staff based at the Galway office, who manage, resource and coordinate the company’s bird survey programme and the management of the GIS and survey data. Our work on large-scale surveys has included nature conservation planning, such as waterbird surveys of the entire surface area and shoreline of Lough Derg and a similar multi-year survey of waterbirds on the Shannon and Fergus Estuaries. Our large-scale survey efforts for private sector projects have been concentrated in the energy and infrastructure sector.
As the ECoW (environmental clerk of works) on construction projects, we provide an on-site presence to assist contractors and developers get their job done, while ensuring that all required measures are implemented to meet any planning or regulatory requirements.
Our presence can by full-time or more occasional, as required by the scale of project, site sensitivity or client’s requirements. Our ECoW staff have the necessary experience to be able to translate written mitigation and design measures into practical, on-the-ground solutions to ensure the implemented measures are fit for purpose. We can take responsibility for on-site environmental monitoring (water, noise, dust, air), as well as all auditing and reporting duties.