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Displaying items by tag: Longford

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has appealed to landowners to consult with it before carrying out works on or near watercourses after a Longford man was fined or disturbance of spawning beds.

Colm Ginty from Dunbeggan, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford was convicted and fined €1,000 and ordered to pay a further €1,727.91 towards costs and expenses at Longford District Court on 12 April following a prosecution taken by IFI.

Judge Bernie Owens convicted Ginty under Section 173(1)(d) Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for carrying out works on the Aughnacliffe River on 30 June 2021 that involved the removal of a substantial amount of gravel from the channel of the river and causing the destabilisation of the bank.

These works were carried out in an area of spawning habitat for wild brown trout and disturbed and injured sensitive spawning beds and bank where the spawn or fry of trout may be.

The court heard evidence from senior fisheries environmental officer Ailish Keane as to the adverse impacts caused by the actions, which occurred along a 90-metre section of the river.

Keane also outlined the negative long-term impacts that the works would have on the lifecycle of the brown trout for years to come.

She explained that IFI staff frequently consult with farmers who want to carry out works in rivers and outline the way works should be carried out to avoid potential damage to fish life.

The Aughnacliffe River is a tributary of the Erne River Catchment which contains a prime spawning habitat for wild brown trout.

Milton Matthews, director of the North West River Basin District at IFI said: “Unauthorised and unplanned instream works put undue pressure on our native fish stocks through loss or degradation of fisheries habitat and spawning areas.

“It is a landowner's responsibility to get in contact with their agricultural advisor or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works in or along on watercourses. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary and damaging impact to fisheries habitat and may be liable to prosecution.”

Published in Angling

#InlandWaters - An articificial lake will be the centrepiece of a new holiday retreat near Lough Ree, as The Irish Times reports.

Center Parcs' Longford Forest is set to go before planners next month, but the adventure village chain has already revealed its proposals for the 150-hectare site in Newcastle Wood near Ballymahon, Co Longford.

These comprise 500 chalets, including a number of treehouses, and amenities such as shops and restaurants situated around an artifical lake an an indoor "subtropical swimming centre".

The proposed location, owned by Coillte, is currently home to some 50 fallow deer that would have to be relocated to adjacent woodland during construction for the park, scheduled to open in 2019.

Meanwhile, Center Parcs says the vast majority of local people back its €100 million plans for Newcastle Wood, expected to boost significantly boost tourism to that corner of the Lakelands region.

And as Ronan McGreevy writes in The Irish Times, "it is hard to find anyone in Longford who is not enthusiastic about the prospect of Center Parcs coming to the county." More on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - "An absolute disgrace" is how a judge branded a Longford farmer convicted of polluting a local lake near Lough Ree with slurry from his pig farm.

According to The Irish Times, Donal Connaughton of Newtowncashel was found to have caused or permitted effluent to fall from up to 25 slurry tanks containing a total of four million gallons from his property in March last year.

Longford District Court heard that many of the tanks were unauthorised structures and that Connaughton had removed their roofs to comply with a previous demolition order, only making the pollution problem worse by allowing overflow to enter local water courses.

Judge Séamus Hughes jailed Connaughton for 10 weeks and fined him €3,000 with €5,400 costs. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#asianclam – Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has today confirmed that the hot-water stretch in Lanesborough, Co. Longford has re-opened to angling, under strict bio-security conditions.

Four disinfection units, funded by the ESB, have been installed by Inland Fisheries Ireland and are now operational. Two of the units are available above and below Lanesborough Bridge on the bankside, one unit is available at the Lanesborough boat slipway and the fourth unit is available on the Ballyleague angling bank.

IFI has advised that all anglers fishing on this angling stretch must disinfect all fishing equipment and waders on departure.

Signage has been erected at each disinfection unit, containing the appropriate disinfection solution, explaining how to disinfect properly. These units are secured outside normal fishing times but a contact number is available on the signage should an angler require it.

Due to the continued presence of the Asian Clam within this angling stretch, Inland Fisheries Ireland has prohibited the use of any keep net in this area for the foreseeable future.

Published in Angling

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland says it is working closely with all relevant agencies as well as local community and angling groups to put "immediate measures" in place to re-open the Lanesborough fishery to angling after this month's Asian clam scare.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, IFI prohibited angling at the 'hot water' stretch in Lanesborough, Co Longford after confirmation that the invasive species Corbilcula fluminea was present downstream of the ESB plant on Lough Ree.

In a statement issued late last week (18 September), IFI says disinfection stations, funded by the ESB, will be provided – and managed within the local community – over this week and next.

Combined with "a responsible attitude by all water users", it is hoped this "will facilitate the resumption of angling activity in the community".

The relevant agencies involved – the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Waterways Ireland, ESB, Bord Na Mona, the Office of Public Works and Roscommon and Longford County Councils – unanimously agreed that a detailed scientific survey would be carried out by this weekend.

"This will accumulate quantitative data and the extent of the distribution of this invasive species to augment the knowledge from the preliminary assessments," says IFI, which adds that the outcome "will inform decisions on the collaborative actions required for the medium and long term interventions and strategies".

In addition, the inland fisheries agency underlined that "continued awareness and responsible behaviour by all water users is paramount to ensuring the work of the agencies involved has the best chance for success and the prevention of any further spread.

"In that regard, all of the agencies appeal to the respective stakeholders to continue to observe bio-security measures, seek advice on any planned activity and assist in the efforts to manage a very difficult situation."

Published in Angling
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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