12 May 2017
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., has today announced the publication of a Guidance document to help support the development of offshore renewable energy in Ireland. The document provides guidance on the preparation of Environment Impact Statements (EIS) and Natura Impact Statements (NIS) for offshore renewable energy projects. It builds on a workshop held with key stakeholders in 2015 and a public consultation which closed in December 2016. Minister Naughten said that “the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) identifies stakeholder engagement as a key principle for the sustainable development of Ireland’s abundant ocean energy resources. Ocean energy has the potential to play a key part in Irelands move towards a low carbon future.”
The aim is to assist developers in preparing the relevant statements that may be required for the development of projects and also to provide competent authorities, consultation bodies and the public with a basis for determining the adequacy of these statements. The Guidance document and further information is available on the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan page.
Note to Editor
The Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) sets out the Government's plan for the sustainable development of Ireland's abundant offshore renewable energy resource. The plan identifies how best to link action across the environmental, energy and economic development sectors – using both existing wind and emerging ocean and tidal technologies. A Steering Group (ORESG) oversees the implementation of the plan, with three main areas of focus: Environment; Infrastructure; and Job Creation. The development of this Guidance document is a key deliverable of the Environment Working Group.
The aim of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is to ensure that projects which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment are assessed in advance so that people are aware of what those effects are likely to be. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be included with the planning application for certain developments. It is drawn up by the developer and must contain an analysis of the likely effects of a proposed development on the environment, including on people, flora, fauna, soil, water, air, landscape and cultural heritage. A Natura Impact Statement (NIS) looks at the possible implications of a plan or project on Natura 2000 sites (ecologically important sites).
The Guidance document on the preparation of Environment Impact Statements (EIS) and Natura Impact Statements (NIS) is based, in the main, on existing statutory obligations, and has been tailored specifically towards the offshore renewable energy industry.