Quarrying & Aggregates
The quarry and aggregates sector is essential to the economy and a vital element in a recovering construction sector in terms of the delivery of housing and other critical public infrastructure.
The industry in Ireland has gone through a tumultuous period, both economic and regulatory. On the economic front, the collapse of the construction industry impacted directly on the sector. On the regulatory side, the sector has been through the Section 261 registration process in 2004/2005 and more recently the extremely onerous Substitute Consent planning process.
The Substitute Consent planning process has resulted in a regulatory quagmire for the sector which has made the future uncertain for many operators. On the other hand, the recovery in the construction industry has resulted in an improved outlook for the sector economically but many operators still have considerable challenges on the regulatory front.
MKO have considerable experience in the quarry and aggregates sector. Through the CIF/NCPA we have contributed to information events throughout the country on the requirements under the Section 261 registration process. We have continued to represent the interests of the industry in the context of Section 261A Substitute Consent, and have successfully handled planning applications for a number of operators. As a result, MKO are very well positioned to assist operators with the regulatory process and with the planning and environmental requirements of both existing and new projects.
Quarrying & Aggregates – 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 manage the entire planning permission application process, or provide key inputs and planning advice. From advice at the pre-planning stage, through to preparing and managing the planning application or responding to further information requests, we help applicants or their project teams navigate a project through the planning process.
We can either lead the planning-phase design team or are equally happy to play out part as a team member. Our most experienced planners lead the consultations with the Planning Authorities, from the initial concept feasibility discussions right through to agreeing pre-commencement compliance requirements.
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.
Habitats Directive Assessments (AASR / NIS / HDA)
The requirements of the EU habitats directive are well known to us, and we prepare Appropriate Assessment Screening Reports (AASR) as Stage 1 assessment/reports or Natura Impact Statements (NIS) as Stage 2 assessment/reports.
Our expert knowledge of the requirements, pitfalls and nuances of habitats directive assessments has been honed by completing many hundred such assessments/reports over the last decade. Our knowledge of the planning system, makes us acutely aware of the planning implications of conducting a Stage 2 assessment for developments that otherwise would not require planning permission. Given our experience, we can advise clients very quickly on whether a Stage 1 “screening” will suffice of whether a full Stage 2 “assessment” is required.
Our environmental monitoring capabilities span groundwater, surface water (inland and marine), noise and dust, and we undertake monitoring both during the construction phase of projects, or to fulfill ongoing environmental compliance requirements for licensed or regulated facilities.
During the construction stage of projects, we undertake monitoring on behalf of construction contractors, or on behalf of project developers/applicants to monitor a contractor’s compliance with environmental or contractual performance criteria. We also own and operate a large array of automatic water quality monitoring devices (SONDES), which provide our clients with access to valuable real-time, and long-term water quality data relating to their site or project.
Strategic Infrastructure Development (SID)
Strategic Infrastructure Developments require strategic planning advisors. In this role, we help manage planning risks, reduce application timeframes and maximise the chance of a successful outcome.
Starting with the initial pre-determination consultation stage, through to SID determination and then on to preparation and lodgement of an SID application, MKO have experience of every stage of this process across dozens of projects. We lead the pre-determination consultation stage interactions with An Bord Pleanála. We compile the determination requests. We prepare and submit the SID applications, ensuring full compliance with all legislative and technical requirements. We help clients and projects through the SID process.
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.
Waste Licensing, Permitting & Registrations
We advise on, prepare, submit and monitor applications for all types of licenses and permits required by the waste industry. These include EPA licenses or Local Authority waste facility permits, Certificates of Registration (CoRs) or waste collection permits
We help prospective applicants determine which regulatory regime is relevant to their activity, and advise on all aspects of that regulation. Alongside our waste licence/permit advice, our planning expertise allows us to offer a parallel opinion on the often-related need for planning permission. To help keep facilities compliant, we prepare quarterly or Annual Environmental Reports (AERs) on behalf of clients and remain available to them to deal with any related matters as they arise.