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Displaying items by tag: consultation

The British Government has launched its long-anticipated consultation with red diesel users across the UK, including Northern Ireland, following the news of plans to restrict the fuel’s usage from 2022.

This past April the UK’s Cruising Association confirmed Westminster’s intention to legislate for a ban on the use of subsidised dyed or ‘red’ diesel except for agriculture, railway and non-commercial heating.

The move is being touted as a way to tackle climate change by giving businesses an incentive to improve their energy efficiency.

But it would also bring the UK into line with EU regulations, as has Ireland’s own ban on green diesel use for cruising and leisure boating which came into force at the start of this year.

The HMRC consultation, which is open until Thursday 1 October, will seek the input of recreational boaters, among others, to determine whether they and other sectors should be allowed to maintain use of red diesel beyond April 2022.

The UK’s Royal Yachting Association (RYA) insists that it backs efforts to increase energy efficiency in the short-term and to strive towards a zero-carbon future.

However, it also makes the case for retaining red diesel based on “existing supply needs, not colour, tax status or price”.

The RYA says: “Recreational boaters already pay the full rate of duty and VAT when purchasing fuel for the purposes of propulsion.

“We will therefore be looking at the proposals to reform the tax treatment of red diesel closely to see how this might affect the supply of fuel for recreational use for both propulsion and how it will impact supply for domestic usage such as heating.

“It is a fact that the further west and north you travel in the UK, the more likely it is that you will have to rely on waterside outlets that only supply red diesel for commercial purposes, such as to fishing fleets.

“In many places, some remote, the limited quantities of fuel used by recreational craft do not warrant the cost of installing additional equipment to supply white diesel for the recreational boating sector.

“If the Government removes the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022 and white diesel is then made as widely available as red diesel is now, then supply of fuel will not be affected.

“The RYA will be responding to this call for evidence and urges any members with an interest in red diesel to participate in the consultation.”

Published in Cruising
Tagged under

Ports in the UK, once designated as freeports, will have no domestic taxes levied on any goods within them, according to a Multimodal news update.

Taxes will only be levied when a product leaves the freeport, and enters the rest of the UK.

This has the effect of encouraging international business to come to the UK to process or store goods with little to no red tape, bringing jobs and investment in the mainly coastal communities that have been neglected during the UK’s membership of the EU. Ten are set to be designated by the end of the year.

OrderOrder has more to report on the story and on the industry leaders which have already started lobbying for freeport status.

Afloat adds among the freeports proposed is an Atlantic freeport in Wales located on the Milford Haven Waterway. Where (pictured above) is tanker, Thun London (18,650 deadweight) one of five new chemical product tankers for a Swedish lake based shipping group.

Thun London, Afloat also adds yesterday completed a passage from the Welsh waterway (incl. Pembroke Dock) to Dublin Port where the new vessel remains berthed today.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Views of the public, businesses and other interested parties is been sought from Dublin Port Company, on the benefits of investing €108 million in terminal facilities to attract more cruise ships, writes The Irish Times. 

The semi-State company (yesterday) launched a public consultation on the future of cruise tourism, seeking opinions on the appetite in the city for his large-scale tourism business, managing the increase in air emissions from additional cruise ships and the financial challenge of funding the proposed new berths.

Economic consultants Indecon estimate the €108 million spent on new berths at the port’s North Wall Quay extension between 2024 and 2026 could generate a net economic benefit of €211 million based on 2019 values.

The port company, however, has said it cannot finance the project itself given its €1 billion plan to build extra capacity to accommodate the projected growth of cargo up to the year 2040.

The proposed new berths would be of limited alternative use outside of cruise ships such as for generating revenue for cargo operations, the company said.

Click here for more on the story. 

Published in Dublin Port

Plans for a white-water rafting circuit in the heart of Dublin have come back to the fore, as The Irish Times reports.

Earlier this year Dublin City councillors were presented with plans for scheme, which aims to transform George’s Dock in the north inner city into an “elite” white-water canoeing, kayaking and rescue training facility.

Plans stalled before the elections, with former lord mayor Nial Ring branding the White Water Rafting Centre proposals as a “white elephant”.

Changes in the council since this summer’s local elections have now seen the project revived, and it has been opened for public consultation until Thursday 3 October.

But the former lord mayor’s sentiments are echoed by critics who suggest there has been “no consideration” for inner-city youths in the proposals.

Published in Canoeing

Feedback from the public and interested stakeholders is being sought on the Government’s Marine Planning Policy Statement by Friday 9 August.

The statement sets out efforts to bring marine planning “into the mainstream of Government functions” as issues surrounding land use, climate change and more come into greater focus.

Earlier this year, it was reported that more than half of submissions in the public consultation on the National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report concerned the marine environment.

In its own submission, the Irish Marine Federation said barriers to investment and sustainability around the Irish coastline have for “took long stymied growth in the marine sphere”.

The trade body’s chair Paal Janson says its members voices are being heard at regular meetings with Minister of State Damien English in The Custom House, and he looks forward to incorporating feedback from its members on the policy statement consultation draft, which is attached below.

Published in Marine Planning

The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) wants to hear recreational boaters’ views on six draft Marine Guidance Notes (MGN) concerning guidance on boat safety over the next few weeks.

RYA cruising manager Stuart Carruthers said: “The MCA has launched this consultation following the Cheeki Rafiki trial where the judge commented that there were aspects not covered by the construction standards for small commercial vessels which should be considered best practice.

“The RYA already provides a considerable amount of safety advice that is readily accessible by the boating public and intends to submit a full response, outlining our views and the concerns of our members.

“Our response will focus on the interests of pleasure boaters with the aim of ensuring that any guidance is clear, realistic and proportionate.”

The six notices cover guidance on keel groundings, rigging inspections, preparedness, stowage of lifesaving gear, vessel resilience and emergency procedures, and maintenance, modifications, damage and repairs.

They are aimed at both small commercial vessels as well as pleasure boats.

The MCA states that it wishes to reinforce to owners, managing agents and skippers of both commercial and pleasure vessels what it considers good practice in terms of safety when going out to sea.

Boaters’ views are sought in the following areas:

  • Whether the draft notes contain guidance that is realistic to carry out in practice
  • What other costs and benefits there might be that haven’t been included in the de minimis assessment
  • If there is the right level of content in each MGN

Full details on the draft MGNS and how to give your views can be found on the UK Government website. A full list of consultation questions is contained in Section 5 of this consultation.

The consultation closes on Thursday 18 July and the RYA encourages all UK boaters to respond.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under

#ferries - The Isle of Man infrastructure minister reports Manx Radio, has pledged to make the findings of the Steam Packet consultation available to the public - in full.

Ray Harmer recently appeared on the radio station's Perspective programme to discuss government's acquisition of the company, which he says has been ongoing since 2016.

Douglas East MHK Chris Robertshaw has been critical of Treasury and the Department of Infrastructure throughout the process, arguing there's been a lack of transparency.

Mr Harmer says full results of the consultation 'can' be available soon.

To listen to his comments click the link to a podcast here.

Published in Ferry

#InlandWaters - A series of three ‘community information events’ on the next phase of the Ulster Canal Greenway begins this week, with a meeting at Tyholland Community Centre in Co Monaghan from 4pm to 8pm tomorrow (Tuesday 2 October).

This will be followed by events at Middletown Community Parish Hall, Co Armagh on Wednesday 10 October, and Smithborough Community Hall, Co Monaghan on Thursday 18 October, both also from 4pm to 8pm.

Waterways Ireland; Monaghan County Council; Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council; and East Border Region Ltd are working in partnership to deliver Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal Greenway.

Landowners, local communities and the general public are invited to these information events to find out more about the project.​

Published in Inland Waterways

#Watersport - Proposals for a national watersport centre in Dun Laoghaire Harbour have been revived with the launch of a preliminary market consultation.

Afloat.ie previously reported on plans in 2015 for a ‘National Watersports Academy’ on the site of the former Stena HSS terminal.

With that facility at St Michael’s Pier set to reopen later this year as the Harbour Innovation Campus, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has scaled back its plans and selected a new location at Traders Wharf further to the west, close to the existing home of the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School.

Per the consultation document, the harbour company “envisions a multi-discipline centre” encompassing sailing, powerboating and related training; diving; kayaking and SUP; rowing and dragon boating; windsurfing, wakeboarding and waterskiing.

“This is an exciting initiative, which could provide a high calibre water sports centre in a truly unique marine environment,” the harbour company adds.

Expressions of interest are being sought from “parties with the relevant expertise, experience and resources” by 5pm on Tuesday 13 March to Gerry Dunne at [email protected].

#Angling - Sean Kyne, Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, gives statutory notice of his intention to make the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations, 2017 to provide for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery by Inland Fisheries Ireland from 1 January 2018.

A copy of the draft regulations is open for public inspection at the offices of the department in Cavan and also at the offices of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Any person may submit observations and.or objections to the draft regulations at any time during the period of 30 days concluding Thursday 14 December either by e-mail to [email protected] or to the following address:

Inland Fisheries Division
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment,
Elm House,
Earlsvale Road,
Cavan Town
H12 A8H7
Ireland
Tel (01) 6783071 / Lo-call 1890 449900 Ext 3071

Note that rates charged for the use of the 1890 number may vary between service providers.

All submissions received will be published on the department’s website following the conclusion of the consultation period.

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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