A new GeoTool has been launched to assist those involved in Appropriate Assessment. The bespoke tool was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to automate and streamline part of the data gathering process needed for Appropriate Assessment.

Dr Karen Creed, Environmental Licensing Programme, EPA, said, “appropriate Assessment is a key protection mechanism that considers the nature conservation implications of a plan or project on Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas before a decision is made on whether to allow the plan or project to proceed. The new tool will remove a lot of the time consuming manual data gathering for these assessments. It will be of benefit to a wide range of users from public authorities with consenting functions to those applying for consents which are subject to the Appropriate Assessment process, as well as to the public, ecological consultants, researchers and students with an interest in nature conservation in Ireland.”

The Geotool is now available on the EPA website. It provides a valuable visual aid allowing a user to search for all Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas within a user specified distance, a critical step in an appropriate assessment.  The tool pulls data directly from a data web service provided by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe, NPWS Scientific Unit said, “the NPWS is committed to producing and sharing quality scientific data and information on the Irish environment and biodiversity.  The new EPA application is a really useful tool which enables users to access all the relevant NPWS information in a very efficient way.”

Source: Environmental Protection Agency