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Progress on eradicating single use plastics which are so harmful to the marine environment will be discussed at a workshop hosted by Coastwatch later this month.

The “Coastwatch and more4nature Earth Day 2024 workshop” will celebrate the disappearance of most items banned under the single use plastics directive since June 2021.

The Coastwatch marine litter citizen science surveys' tracking will be discussed, along with single-use plastics that are “ban-resistant.”

Law and law enforcement, the campaign route and “good practice examples” will also be discussed by contributors from the EU’s environment directorate, the Department of the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency and environmental NGOs.

The event will take place in Europe House, 12-14 Lr Mount Street, Dublin, on April 22nd from 9 am to 1 pm. Booking is essential, and more information is available from Karin Dubsky at email [email protected]

Published in Marine Wildlife

Research into nature-based solutions for water quality and ecology and “digital twins” for coastal areas are among topics the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is funding under a 14.3 million euro round.

The funding of 33 new research projects covers research into climate change, the natural environment, the green and circular economy, and environment and human health.

Reflecting the need for cross-sectoral research, the EPA says it is working in partnership with Met Éireann and Geological Survey Ireland to co-fund some of the studies.

It says the funding will support more than 200 research staff across 13 organisations.

University College Cork (UCC) received the highest number of successful research awards for the 2023 round, and Prof John Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research and Innovation, said he would like to thank the EPA for “continuing to award talented researchers”.

In the marine and freshwater environment areas, South-East Technological University received a grant of 590,558 euro for work on combining digital twin technology with landscape biography for environmental analysis of a coastal region.

University College, Dublin, received 599,214 euro for a project entitled “Enhancing Blue Carbon and Ecological Services through Nature-Based Solutions: Integrated Restoration in Irish Coastal Waters”.

Ryan Hanley Consulting Engineers received 98,680 euro for a comparative assessment of source protection to improve water quality and drinking water treatment.

The complete list of awards for the 2023 EPA research call is here

The EPA Research Call 2024 will open for applications in April 2024, and details will be made available on the EPA website.

Published in Marine Science
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Coastal communities can apply for climate action grants from a €27 million “funding pot” announced by Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan.

Speaking in Co Cavan, Ryan said it was one of the largest of its kind, earmarked for local organisations working to build low-carbon communities.

It comprises a national Climate Action Fund allocation of €24 million and an allocation of €3 million, which is being provided by the Government’s Shared Island Fund to support cross-border and all-island community climate action initiatives.

The programme, which local authorities will administer, can provide amounts of up to €100,000 to larger local projects over an 18-month period.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all for local projects so the fund will be flexible enough to provide lesser amounts as needed to smaller and medium-sized local action programmes, Ryan said.

“With climate action, place is everything. What works and what’s needed for a coastal community will be different to what works and what’s needed for a midlands community, for example," he said.

Projects selected for funding under the programmes will have to contribute to national climate and energy targets across the following five themes:

  • community energy;
  • travel;
  • food and waste;
  • shopping and recycling; and
  • local climate and environmental action.

All local authorities now have a dedicated community climate action officer (CCAO) who will assist interested groups with their applications and provide guidance on the programme, helping to match local action with suitable funding, Ryan said.

Groups interested in applying should contact their local authority and ask to speak to the CCAO about the programme before applications close in early March.

Published in Coastal Notes

An environmental network has been given additional funding of €1.1 million by Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan to “build capacity” in relation to planning for offshore wind.

The extra funding of €1.1 million has been approved by the minister for the Irish Environmental Network (IEN), a network of environmental non-government organisations (NGOs)

The money is in addition to annual funding the IEN receives from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

Ryan’s department said the funding “will enable environmental NGOs actively involved in the marine environment sector, including Birdwatch Ireland, Coastwatch Ireland, Bat Conservation Ireland and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, to build their capacity and secure additional expertise in areas critical to the delivery of Ireland’s offshore wind ambitions”.

“These areas include marine science and research, the offshore wind planning system, and public engagement,” it said.

It said that “increasing the resources of environmental NGOs will make an important contribution towards achieving effective future maritime spatial planning within Ireland’s seas and oceans, and the establishment of a new ‘plan-led’ regime for offshore wind development”.

Under this plan-led approach, future offshore wind developments will be located in Designated Maritime Area Plans, or DMAPs, which have been established by the State, in cooperation with key stakeholders, including local communities, those involved in the fishing industry, and environmental NGOs.

This will include the establishment of Ireland’s first offshore renewable energy DMAP, which will identify marine areas for future offshore wind projects off the south coast of Ireland.

The funds “will ensure that environmental NGOs can contribute towards the establishment of future DMAPs, through participation in periods of public consultation”. T

A second period of public consultation for the South Coast DMAP is scheduled for early 2024.

“An appropriately resourced environmental NGO sector is central to our ongoing work to accelerate the delivery of offshore renewable energy,” Ryan said.

 Karen Ciesielski, CEO of the Irish Environmental Network Karen Ciesielski, CEO of the Irish Environmental Network 

“ In particular, the work of environmental NGOs in the areas of conservation, public awareness and education, will make an important contribution towards the establishment of future offshore DMAPs,”he said.

“This funding will help to ensure that development for offshore wind takes place in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with environmental protection, including protection of biodiversity, and the conservation objectives of protected sites, species or habitats,”he said.

IEN chief executive officer Karen Ciesielski welcomed the announcement.

“This funding will enable our members to build additional capabilities and know-how to ensure that Ireland’s offshore renewable energy demands are met in an environmentally sustainable manner that benefits coastal communities and us all,”she said.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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The Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) has initiated a study with the Marine Institute on whether certain marine environmental surveys require a licence.

The study will focus on marine environmental surveys “for the purposes of scientific discovery and research”, and marine environmental surveys “for the purposes of site investigation or in support of an application for planning for major developments”.

The new State regulatory authority for marine planning, says that “the output of this study, expected Q1 2024, will inform MARA if changes in the licence regime are warranted”.

“If so, MARA will engage with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to prioritise drafting legislative amendments to exempt some ‘low risk’ activities that are marine licensable,” it says.

The Marine Institute said it “is engaging with internal and external marine experts to help identify and propose activities that may be suitable for exemption”.

“This will be carried out by assessing marine data collection processes, publicly available data and survey techniques used in other mature markets”, it says.

“A comprehensive catalogue of the types of activities will be reviewed. The approaches adopted in other jurisdictions will also inform the process,” it says.

MARA chief executive officer Laura Brien said “the range of activities which require a marine licence is wide ranging from large complex works to smaller, low-risk works”.

“This is an important project which could result in an innovative approach to our licensing regime and ensure applications are treated in a proportionate way,” she said.

“The outcome of this work will be of interest to a number of our stakeholders, including industry, in particular those dealing with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) and other maritime developments,” she said.

More information is available from Mara’s marine licensing team at email address [email protected]

Published in Marine Planning

A European Court of Auditors report on offshore renewable energy says targets set by the EU in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may be difficult to reach, and the impact on the marine environment hasn’t been sufficiently “identified, analysed or addressed”.

As The Sunday Independent reports, the auditors’ report also expresses “particular” concern about “the unresolved conflict with fisheries in some countries”.

Four EU member states were analysed for the report, but the report’s recommendations apply to all member states, including Ireland.

The report studied progress in Germany and The Netherlands (both of whom have advanced offshore sectors), plus those of France and Spain.

EU member state targets may be delayed by planning and the effect of inflation, it says, but it says this pace may accelerate under changes to the renewable energy directive, requiring member states to designate “renewable go-to areas” on land or at sea for “overriding public interest”.

However, the audit report says the European Commission did not assess the environmental impact and impact on the fishing industry of these increased targets.

Installations of energy infrastructure at sea “may result in a progressive reduction of access to fishing areas, which could lower revenue from fishing and increase competition between fishermen,” it says.

While this may benefit some fish stocks, it claims “an improved fish population on a larger scale is uncertain”.

The report also says the scale of the planned offshore renewable energy roll-out, from a current 16GW of installed capacity to a planned 61GW in 2030 “and beyond”, may result in a “significant” environmental footprint on marine life, which “has not been taken sufficiently into account”.

The EU has argued this will require less than 3pc of the European maritime area and is “compatible with the EU’s biodiversity strategy” — but the report says deploying offshore renewable energy “might influence a much larger proportion of certain habitat types and their biodiversity”.

The Department of Environment, Climate and Communications says it is scrutinising the report, and said it underlined the importance of “plan-led” approach by Ireland to phase two projects.

The first designated maritime area plan for future offshore energy development for the south coast is out for public consultation.

Read The Sunday Independent here

Published in Fishing

Two renewable energy industry associations and several environmental NGOs have called for a “step-change in Government investment in environmental capacity” at both state and civil society level to address the biodiversity and climate crises.

A joint pre-Budget statement from Wind Energy Ireland and the Irish Solar Energy Association, along with environmental NGOs, calls for a range of targeted measures to support an environmentally sound transition to a zero-carbon power system.

The NGOs are An Taisce, Birdwatch Ireland, Friends of the Earth, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, and the Irish Wildlife Trust.

“lack of environmental capacity in state agencies”

“Substantially increased resources are needed at all levels of Government and in environmental NGOs to accelerate the energy transition while protecting nature,” they say.

They criticise a “lack of environmental capacity in state agencies”, which they claim to be undermining renewables objectives and compliance with environmental law.

A lack of resources among NGOs means they are often prevented from substantially engaging in the planning and development process, they state.

The joint statement calls for, among other actions:

*An increase in funding for relevant departments and agencies and a fast-track recruitment process for key state bodies that are critical for delivering a zero-carbon electricity system and protecting and restoring nature, to ensure that they have enough ecologists, for example, to progress their work in a timely fashion.

*The establishment of a dedicated Climate and Nature Restoration Fund from windfall corporation taxes to finance climate and nature infrastructural and capital investments, including nature-based solutions.

*The introduction of a dedicated new funding stream to support training and upskilling of existing staff in public bodies involved in carrying out an environmental impact assessment.

*The allocation of at least €7 million in 2024 to help reach the target of fully protecting 10% of Ireland’s ocean and seas and at least €55 million to support longer-term designation of Marine Protected Areas and ongoing management until 2030.

*The establishment of a new funding stream for science and research-focused conservation organisations to enable them to fund staff posts so that they can meaningfully engage in ecological research, active conservation, infrastructure consultation and planning processes.

*An increase in annual funding to the Irish Environmental Network by €1 million to improve the ability of environmental NGOs to engage in environmental planning and policy.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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“Nature-based” solutions to the impact of climate breakdown on the marine and terrestrial environments could qualify for funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a new research call.

The EPA says up to €16 million in funding is available for new research projects, representing a significant increase over previous years.

It is inviting proposals from the research community for “innovative research projects to support the development and implementation of environmental policies in Ireland”.

“Scientific research and innovation are playing an increasingly important role in informing how governments and society can respond to the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation,” Dr Eimear Cotter, Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment says.

Areas of research include exploring how nature-based solutions can benefit the environment and society, advancing climate science in an Irish context, and identifying effective options to adapt to climate change.

Cross-cutting areas are also highlighted, such as how data and digitalisation can be utilised for environmental protection and how society can be enabled in its transition to a sustainable future, the EPA says.

The EPA research programme is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

Under this year’s call, the EPA says it will be partnering with the Geological Survey Ireland, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Met Éireann to co-fund projects in areas of mutual interest.

Further details are available on the EPA website and queries can be emailed to [email protected]

Published in Marine Science
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Ireland is to develop nature-based solutions in coastal areas to protect biodiversity, improve resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of pollution under a new programme of measures for the marine environment

Ireland’s plan to maintain or achieve “good environmental status” of marine waters over the next six years has been published by Government.

The “programme of actions” commits Ireland to:

  • develop and expand Ireland’s marine protected areas (MPAs) to cover 30% of its marine area by 2030, including enacting the Marine Protected Areas Bill in 2023;
  • develop nature-based solutions in coastal and marine systems to protect biodiversity, improve resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of pollution;
  • provide environmental guidance for offshore renewable energy;
  • develop an all-Ireland management strategy for non-indigenous species and invasive species in coastal and marine areas;
  • update guidance on reducing underwater noise pollution to protect marine mammals;
  • and fully implement the Single Use Plastics Directive and Circular Economy Act, among a wide range of other actions aimed at reducing litter and plastics in our seas. This will allow Ireland to reach the EU beach litter threshold value of 20 litter items per 100m.

Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’BrienMinister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien

The “Programme of Measures” incorporating Ireland’s environmental targets for seas and oceans to 2028 has already been submitted to the European Commission.

 It has now been published by Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan.

The programme was drawn up by a steering committee of State bodies, and several non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Fishing industry organisations, port bodies and representatives of marine leisure are not part of the steering committee.

The members of the steering committee include: Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transport, Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, environmental NGO representatives Coastwatch and SWAN, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Published in Marine Planning
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European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly is seeking the public’s view on how transparent EU decision-making is in relation to the environment.

The public consultation, which closes in just over a month’s time, relates to decisions involving both the marine and terrestrial environment.

The consultation’s aim is to evaluate whether citizens have access to the up-to-date information they need to exercise “democratic scrutiny” when it comes to EU rules for protecting the environment and combatting climate change.

“Past Ombudsman inquiries have found instances in which environmental information was made public either too late or not at all, effectively removing people’s right to participate in decision-making related to the environment,”the European Ombudsman’s office says.

“The Ombudsman has decided to prioritise scrutiny of this area as the EU - in the face of unprecedented environmental challenges - has agreed a series of laws aimed at protecting the environment and combatting climate change,” it says.

“The laws and proposals range from binding emission targets, to funding programmes for sustainable technologies, to biodiversity strategies and reduction in the use of chemical pesticides,”it says.

The EU Aarhus regulation obliges EU institutions to set up public databases for “ proactive and systemic” dissemination of certain environmental information.

As one of a series of questions drawn up as part of the consultation, participants are asked to identify what EU institutions should do to make these databases as comprehensive and user-friendly as possible?

The 11 questions relating to transparency and participation seek to “find out how easy it is for the public to obtain documents or information related to the environment”.

They are also designed to determine “how citizens could be more involved in the preparation and implementation of green policies”.

The public consultation is available in all 24 EU languages, and runs until December 15th. More details are here

Published in Marine Wildlife
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The home club of Laser Radial Olympic Silver medalist Annalise Murphy, the National Yacht Club is a lot more besides. It is also the spiritual home of the offshore sailing body ISORA, the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race and the biggest Flying Fifteen fleet in Ireland. Founded on a loyal membership, the National Yacht Club at the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay enjoys a family ethos and a strong fellowship in a relaxed atmosphere of support and friendship through sailing.

Bathing in the gentle waterfront ambience of Dun Laoghaire on the edge of South County Dublin, the National Yacht Club has graced the waters of the Irish Sea and far beyond for more than a century and in 2020 celebrates its sesquicentennial.  

The club is particularly active in dinghy and keelboat one-design racing and has hosted three World Championships in recent years including the Flying Fifteen Worlds in 2003, 2019 and the SB3 Worlds in 2008. The ISAF Youth Worlds was co-hosted with our neighbouring club the Royal St. George Yacht Club in 2012...

National Yacht Club Facilities

Facilities include a slipway directly accessing Dun Laoghaire Harbour, over eighty club moorings, platform parking, pontoons, fuelling, watering and crane-lifting ensure that the NYC is excellently equipped to cater for all the needs of the contemporary sailor. Berths with diesel, water, power and overnight facilities are available to cruising yachtsmen with shopping facilities being a short walk away. The club is active throughout the year with full dining and bar facilities and winter activities include bridge, snooker, quiz nights, wine tasting and special events.

National Yacht Club History

Although there are references to an active “club” prior to 1870, history records that the present clubhouse was erected in 1870 at a cost of £4,000 to a design by William Sterling and the Kingstown Royal Harbour Boat Club was registered with Lloyds in the same year. By 1872 the name had been changed to the Kingston Harbour Boat Club and this change was registered at Lloyds.

In 1881. the premises were purchased by a Captain Peacocke and others who formed a proprietary club called the Kingstown Harbour Yacht Club again registered at Lloyds. Some six years later in 1877 the building again changed hands being bought by a Mr Charles Barrington. and between 1877 and 1901 the club was very active and operated for a while as the “Absolute Club” although this change of name was never registered.

In 1901, the lease was purchased by three trustees who registered it as the Edward Yacht Club. In 1930 at a time when the Edward Yacht Club was relatively inactive, a committee including The Earl of Granard approached the trustees with a proposition to form the National Yacht Club. The Earl of Granard had been Commodore of the North Shannon Y.C. and was a senator in the W.T.Cosgrave government. An agreement was reached, the National Yacht Club was registered at Lloyds. The club burgee was created, red cross of Saint George with blue and white quarters being sky cloud, sea and surf. The Earl of Granard became the first Commodore.

In July of 1950, a warrant was issued to the National Yacht Club by the Government under the Merchant Shipping Act authorising members to hoist a club ensign in lieu of the National Flag. The new ensign to include a representation of the harp. This privilege is unique and specific to members of the National Yacht Club. Sterling’s design for the exterior of the club was a hybrid French Chateau and eighteenth century Garden Pavilion and today as a Class A restricted building it continues to provide elegant dining and bar facilities.

An early drawing of the building shows viewing balconies on the roof and the waterfront façade. Subsequent additions of platforms and a new slip to the seaward side and most recently the construction of new changing rooms, offices and boathouse provide state of the art facilities, capable of coping with major international and world championship events. The club provides a wide range of sailing facilities, from Junior training to family cruising, dinghy sailing to offshore racing and caters for most major classes of dinghies, one design keelboats, sports boats and cruiser racers. It provides training facilities within the ISA Youth Sailing Scheme and National Power Boat Schemes.

Past Commodores

1931 – 42 Earl of Granard 1942 – 45 T.J. Hamilton 1945 – 47 P.M. Purcell 1947 – 50 J.J. O’Leary 1950 – 55 A.A. Murphy 1955 – 60 J.J. O’Leary 1960 – 64 F. Lemass 1964 – 69 J.C. McConnell 1969 – 72 P.J. Johnston 1972 – 74 L. Boyd 1974 – 76 F.C. Winkelmann 1976 – 79 P.A. Browne 1979 – 83 W.A. Maguire 1983 – 87 F.J. Cooney 1987 – 88 J.J. Byrne 1988 – 91 M.F. Muldoon 1991 – 94 B.D. Barry 1994 – 97 M.P.B. Horgan 1997 – 00 B. MacNeaney 2000 – 02 I.E. Kiernan 2002 – 05 C.N.I. Moore 2005 – 08 C.J. Murphy 2008 – 11 P.D. Ryan 2011 – P. Barrington 2011-2014 Larry Power 2014-2017 Ronan Beirne 2017 – 2019

At A Glance - National Yacht Club 2024 Events

  • 24th February Optimist Sprint
  • 25th February Leinster Schools Team Racing
  • 3rd March Leinster Schools Team Racing
  • 13th April Lift in
  • 20th April Leinster Schools Team Racing
  • 23rd – 24th, 27th – 28th April University Invitational Match Racing Championships
  • 11th – 12th May 29er Easterns and Invitational Match Racing Nationals
  • 25th – 26th May Women at the Helm Regatta
  • 15th June NYC Regatta
  • 22nd – 23rd June Topper Southern Champs
  • 10th July NYC Junior Regatta
  • 5th September NYC End of Season Race
  • 21st – 22nd September F15 East Coast Championships
  • 5th October Start of F15 Frostbite Series
  • 12th October Lift Out
  • 19th – 20th October RS Aero Easterns

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