Appendix F - Appropriate Assessment Screening Report

closeddate_range30 Jul, 2019, 5:00pm - 13 Sep, 2019, 5:00pm

Appendix F Appropriate Assessment Screening Report

 

APPROPRIATE ASSESSMENT SCREENING REPORT

 

FOR

DRAFT CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTION STRATEGY FOR CORK CITY COUNCIL

 

June 2019

 

ON BEHALF OF

Atlantic Seaboard South Region

Climate Action Regional Office (CARO)

 

DOCUMENT CONTROL SHEET

Client

Climate Action Regional Office

Project Title

Draft Climate Change Adaption Strategy for Cork City  Council

Document Title

Appropriate Assessment Screening Report

 

Revision

 

Status

 

Author(s)

 

Reviewed

 

Approved

 

Issue Date

 

 

1.0

 

Draft for Consultation

 

Donnacha Woods,

Project Ecologist

 

Jim Dowdall,

Director

Muriel Ennis Principal Environmental Consultant

 

 

28/06/2019

 

1. INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 Background

Member States are required to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protected Areas (SPAs) under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives, respectively. SACs and SPAs are collectively known as Natura 2000 sites. An ‘Appropriate Assessment’ (AA) is a required assessment to determine the likelihood of significant impacts, based on best scientific knowledge, of any plans or projects on Natura 2000 sites. A screening for AA determines whether a plan or project, either alone or in combination with other plans and projects, is likely to have significant effects on a Natura 2000 site, in view of its conservation objectives.

This AA Screening has been undertaken to determine the potential for significant impacts on nearby Sites with European conservation designations (i.e. Natura 2000 Sites). The purpose of this assessment is to determine, the appropriateness, or otherwise, of the proposed development in the context of the conservation objectives of such sites.

 

1.2 Legislative Context

The Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) seeks to conserve natural habitats and wild fauna and flora by the designation of SACs and the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) seeks to protect birds of special importance by the designation of SPAs. It is the responsibility of each member state to designate SPAs and SACs, both of which will form part of Natura 2000, a network of protected sites throughout the European Community.

An Appropriate Assessment is required under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive where a project or plan may give rise to significant effects upon a Natura 2000 Site, and paragraphs 3 and 4 states that:

6(3) Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site, in view of the site's conservation objectives. In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public.

6(4) If, in spite of a negative assessment of the implications for the site and in the absence of alternative solutions, a plan or project must nevertheless be carried out for imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of a social or economic nature, the Member State shall take all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected. It shall inform the Commission of the compensatory measures adopted. Where the site concerned hosts a priority natural habitat type and/or a priority species, the only considerations which may be raised are those relating to human health or public safety, to beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment or, further to an opinion from the Commission, to other imperative reasons of overriding public interest.

The current assessment was conducted within this legislative framework and the published DEHLG (2009) guidelines. As outlined in these, it is the responsibility of the proponent of the project to provide a comprehensive and objective Screening for Appropriate Assessment, which can then be used by the competent authority in order to conduct the Appropriate Assessment (DEHLG, 2009).

 

1.3 Quality assurance and competence

Enviroguide Consulting, is a wholly Irish Owned multi-disciplinary consultancy specialising in the areas of Environment, Waste Management and Planning. Both directors carry scientific qualifications and have a wealth of experience working within the Environmental Consultancy sectors, having  undergone  extensive  training  and  continued  professional development.

Enviroguide Consulting as a company remains fully briefed in European and Irish environmental policy and legislation. Both directors have a diploma from the Law Society of Ireland in Environmental and Planning Law and have a Master’s degree in Environmental and Natural Resources Law at University College Cork.

Enviroguide’s staff members are highly qualified in their field. Professional memberships in-clude the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), the Irish Environmental Law Association  and  Chartered Institute  of  Ecology and  Environmental Management (CIEEM).

All reports have been carried out by qualified and experienced ecologists and environmental consultants. Donnacha Woods, Project Ecologist with Enviroguide, undertook the desktop re- search for this report. Donnacha has an M.Sc. (Biodiversity and Conservation) from Trinity College, and over 6 years’ experience as an ecologist and is an Associate member of CIEEM. He has worked on a wide range of conservation, research and ecological monitoring projects across several different countries.

Muriel Ennis, Principal Environmental Consultant, has an M.Sc. in Ecosystem Conservation and Landscape Management and over 10 years’ experience as an Environmental / Ecology Consultant and is also an Associate member of CIEEM. She has worked on a range of projects from Strategic Flood Studies to residential developments.

 

1.4 Stages  of AA

This Appropriate Assessment Screening Report (the “Screening Report”) has been prepared by Enviroguide Consulting which considers whether the proposed Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is likely to have a significant effect on a European Site and whether a Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment is required.

The AA process is a four-stage process, with issues and tests at each stage. An important aspect of the process is that the outcome at each successive stage determines whether a further stage in the process is required.

                                                                                                                       

The four stages of an AA can be summarised as follows:

  • Stage 1: Screening. The first stage of the AA process is to determine the likelihood of significant impacts of a proposal.
  • Stage 2: Natura Impact Statement (NIS). The second stage of the AA process assesses the impact of the proposal (either alone or in combination with other projects or plans) on the integrity of the Natura 2000 site, with respect to the conservation objectives of the site and its ecological structure and function. A Natural Impact Statement containing a professional, scientific examination of the proposal is required and should include any mitigation measure to avoid, reduce or offset negative impacts.
  • Stage 3: Assessment of alternative solutions. If the outcome of Stage 2 is negative i.e. adverse impacts to the sites cannot be scientifically ruled out, despite mitigation, the plan or project should proceed to Stage 3 or be abandoned. This stage examines alternative solutions to the proposal.
  • Stage 4: Assessment where no alternative solutions exist and where adverse impacts remain. The final stage is the main derogation process examining whether there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI) for allowing a plan or project to adversely affect a Natural 2000 site, where no less damaging solution exists.

 

The purpose of Stage 1, the Screening Stage is to determine the necessity or otherwise for a NIS. Screening for AA examines the likely effects of a project or plan alone, and in combination with other projects or plans, upon a Natura 2000 site, and considers whether it can be objec- tively concluded that these effects will not be significant.

If it is determined during screening stage that the proposal may have a significant effect on a Natura 2000 site, or such a significant effect cannot be ruled out, then a NIS will need to be prepared. The Screening is outlined in Section 2.

 

1.5 Screening Steps

This Screening for AA, or Stage 1 of AA, has been undertaken in  accordance with the European Commission Methodological Guidance on the provision of Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the ‘Habitats’ Directive 92/43/EEC (EC, 2001) and the European Commission Guidance  ‘Managing Natura 2000 sites’ (EC, 2000). Screening for AA involves the   following:

    • Establish whether the Strategy is necessary for the management of a Natura 2000 site;
    • Description of the  Strategy;
    • Identification of Natura 2000 sites potentially   affected;
    • Identification and description of individual and cumulative impacts likely to result from the  Strategy;
    • Assessment of the significance of the impacts identified above on site-integrity; and
    • Exclusion of sites where it can be objectively concluded that there will be no significant effects.

This Stage 1, Screening, examines whether likely effects upon a Natura 2000 site will be significant and determines whether the AA process for the proposed Plan alone and in combination with other developments in the area requires a Stage 2.

 

1.6 Stage 1 Screening Assessment Methodologies

 1.6.1Desk Study

A desk study was carried out to evaluate all available information on the area’s natural envi- ronment. This comprised a review of a wide range of available publications, datasets and resources where applicable,  including the following    sources:

    • Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy – Cork City   Council;
    • National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) datasets;
    • Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) online datasets and mapping;
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mapping and datasets;
    • National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) online mapping and species records;
    • OSI aerial imagery and Discovery Series mapping;
    • Satellite imagery from various sources and dates (Google, Digital Globe, Bing);
    • The Status of  EU Protected Habitats in Ireland   (NPWS);

For a complete list of the specific documents consulted as part of this assessment, see Section 4 References.

 

1.6.2 Assessment of Impacts

The potential impacts of the Objectives and Actions of the Corks City Councils Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy are assessed against the criteria as outlined in Assessment of plans and projects significantly affecting Natura 2000 sites: Methodological guidance on the provisions of Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC (European Commission, 2001), the significance of these is assessed using key  indicators:

    • Habitat  loss or alteration;
    • Habitat  /  species fragmentation;
    • Disturbance and / or displacement of species;
    • Changes in population density; and
    • Changes in water quality and resource.

While also assesses key indicators, the following terms are defined when quantifying duration:

TABLE 1. DEFINITION OF DURATIONS (EPA, 2017).

Description of Duration                         Corresponding Time Frame

Momentary Effects

Effects lasting from seconds to minutes

Brief Effects

Effects lasting less than a day

Temporary Effects

Effects lasting less than a year

Short-term Effects

Effects lasting one to seven years.

Medium-term Effects

Effects lasting seven to fifteen years.

Long-term Effects

Effects lasting fifteen to sixty  years

Permanent Effects

Effects lasting over sixty  years

Reversible Effects

Effects that can be undone, for example through remediation or restoration

 

Frequency of Effects

Describe how often the effect will occur. (once, rarely, occasionally, fre- quently, constantly – or hourly, daily, weekly, monthly,  annually)

Furthermore, the criterion for confidence levels of the predicted likely impacts are given below in Table 2.

TABLE 2. IMPACT SIGNIFICANCE CRITERIA (EPA, 2017).

 

Significance of Effects                             Definition

Imperceptible

An effect capable of measurement but without significant consequences.

Not significant

An effect which causes noticeable changes in the character of the envi- ronment but without significant consequences.

Slight Effects

An effect which causes noticeable changes in the character of the envi- ronment without affecting its sensitivities.

Moderate Effects

An effect that alters the character of the environment in a manner that is consistent  with existing  and  emerging  baseline trends.

Significant Effects

An effect which, by its character, magnitude, duration or intensity alters a sensitive aspect of the environment

While assessing Cork City’s Draft Climate Changes Adaptation Strategy, each Objective and Action was assess using the key indicators as per Methodological guidance on the provisions of Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC (European Commission, 2001).

 

2. STAGE 1 SCREENING

 

2.1 Management of Natura 2000 Site

Cork City Council’s Draft Climate Change Adaption Strategy is not directly connected with or necessary for the management of Natura 2000 sites in County Cork or  elsewhere.

 

2.2 Description of the Plan

 

2.2.1Background

The Earth’s Climate is changing. While natural fluctuations in climate are considered normal, emerging research and observational records from across the world show rates of change that are far greater than those experienced in recent history. Global temperatures have risen and are projected to rise further bringing changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and in-creased frequency and intensity of extreme weather. Ireland’s climate is changing in line with global patterns, and these changes are bringing significant and wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

Climate change is now recognised as a global challenge with policy responses required in terms of both mitigating the causes of climate change and in adapting to the now inevitable consequences of our changing climate. Action at local level is vitally important to help reduce the risks and impacts of climate change across communities.

This local authority Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy forms part of Ireland’s national strategy for climate adaptation as set out in the National Adaptation Framework (NAF) which was produced under the provisions of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.1

It is tasked with mainstreaming climate change adaptation over time into all functions, operations and services of the local authority. It seeks to inform or ‘climate proof’ existing plans and policies produced and implemented by the local authority. This ensures a considered, consistent and coherent approach, facing head-on the challenges of a changing climate. Crucially, it also helps in building resilience within the local authority organisation itself as well as across all communities.

1 Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 (S.I. No. 25/2016).

 

2.2.2Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Objectives

The purpose of the Cork City Council’s Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is to achieve the national objective of becoming a more climate resilient society and economy by 2050. In order to help tackle current and future challenges that climate change can present, Cork City Council has set out a number of key objectives in their strategy, under seven thematic principles.  The seven themes are  listed  below:

 

  1. Local Adaptation Governance and Business Operations
  2. Infrastructure and Built  Environment
  3. Landuse and Development
  4. Drainage, Water and Flood Management
  5. Natural Resources and Cultural Infrastructure
  6. Citizen  Safety, Health and Wellbeing
  7. Partnerships with other Sectors and Agencies

Table 3 below outlines Cork City Councils Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy objectives per theme.

TABLE  3.  CORK CITY COUNCIL  DRAFT  CLIMATE  CHANGE ADAPTATION  STRATEGY OBJECTIVES

Local Adaptation Governance and Business Operations

1

To support the  successful and practical  implementation  of  climate adaptation  planning.

 

2

To ensure that climate adaptation is mainstreamed into all relevant activities and operations of Cork City Council.

3

To develop and maintain a resource and risk model for Cork City Council.

4

To build resilience within Cork City Council to support service  delivery.

5

To build capacity within Cork City Council to respond effectively to extreme weather events.

 

6

To identify and support opportunities that may arise from pursuing adaptation efforts through  the functions of Cork City Council.

Infrastructure and Built  Environment

7

To increase the resilience of  roads  and transport    infrastructure.

 

8

To increase the resilience of Cork  City Council buildings, housing stock, parks and cemeteries  and  other  capital  assets.

Land Use and Development

 

9

To integrate climate action considerations into land use planning policy and influence positive behaviour.

Drainage, Water and Flood Management

10

To adapt to the increased risk and impact of flooding due to climate change.

 

11

To provide adequate drinking water supply and waste water treatment during extreme weather events.

 

12

To liaise and work with other bodies and agencies responsible for the management of water sources.

Natural Resources and Cultural Infrastructure

13

To protect and enhance and restore the natural  environment.

 

14

To review, manage and protect biodiversity and natural heritage within the natural environment.

15

To support and enhance built  heritage and cultural    infrastructure.

Citizen Safety, Health and Wellbeing

16

To consult, identify actions and build capacity and    resilience within local communities.

Partnerships with other Sectors and Agencies

17

To collaborate  with  other  sectors and  agencies  in programmes relating to  climate  change.

 

 

2.3 Identification of Relevant Natura 2000 Sites

In identifying potentially affected Natura 2000 sites, it has been decided to adopt the precau- tionary principle and includes all SPAs and SACs within the Strategy area, including a surrounding 15km buffer zone. Within this overall area, a total of 2 SACs and 1 SPAs are found, each site name, corresponding code and qualifying interests are detailed in Table 4 below.

TABLE 4. NATURA 2000 SITES WITHIN A 15KM RADIUS OF THE STRATEGY AREA.

*  = PRIORITY;  NUMBERS IN BRACKETS  ARE NATURA 2000   CODES

FIGURE 3. NATURA 2000 SITES LOCATED WITHIN 15KM OF THE STRATEGY’S AREA.

 

2.4 Assessment  of Significance  of  Potential Impacts

The potential for significant impacts resulting from the Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy has been  assessed in relation to Natura 2000 sites within the precaution-   ary zone of potential  impact.

Impacts that require consideration are categorised under the following criteria, as outlined in Assessment of plans and projects significantly affecting Natura 2000 sites: Methodological guidance on the provisions of Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC (European  Commission,  2001).

  • Habitat  loss or alteration;
  • Habitat  /  species fragmentation;
  • Disturbance and / or displacement of species;
  • Changes in population density; and
  • Changes in water quality and resource.

Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is designed to inform responses throughout the local authority to the effects of climate change and does not identify specific areas for development. Any future projects resulting from the objectives laid out in the Strategy will need to comply with the relative legislation in relation to Appropriate Assessment, where appropriate.

2.4.1 In-combination Effects

The following planning and policy documents were reviewed and considered for possible in- combination effects with the proposed    Strategy:

  • Cork County Development Plan 2014-2022;
  • Cork City Heritage Plan 2015-2020; and
  • County Cork Biodiversity Action Plan  2009-2014

Due to the nature of Corks City Council Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, and in particular its main objective of mainstreaming Climate Adaptation into all functions within Cork City Council, there is no in-combination affects identified to any Natura 2000 sites as a result of this Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

Cork City’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is designed to inform council policy documents and actions in relation to climate change adaptation. As such it is high level and the objectives and actions are high level and not area specific.

Other Local Authority documents such as Development Plans will take their lead from the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. These, as part of the plan preparation process will be subject to SEA and AA that ensures that objectives and actions that result will be adequately examined for ecological effects.

Should specific actions result from these plans these will be subjected to both  AA  and EIA  when sufficient design details exist. The EIA and AA process will ensure that any possible environmental and ecological effects of any outcomes from the adaptation plans will be adequately assessed.

 

2.4.2 Screening Matrix

Brief description of the plan:

Preparation of the Cork City Council Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. This document is designed to inform the policy documents of Cork City Council in adapting to the effects of climate change.

Brief description of the Natura 2000 sites Located in Cork City Council area. Table 4 detail above de- tails the exhausted list of SAC and SPAs and the qualifying interests of Natura 2000 sites inside and outside Cork City Council area.

Cork Harbour SPA (4030) is a large, sheltered bay system, with several river estuaries - principally those of the Rivers Lee, Douglas, Owenboy and Owennacurra. The SPA site comprises most of the main intertidal areas of Cork Harbour, including all of the North Channel, the Douglas River Estuary, inner Lough Mahon, Monkstown Creek, Lough Beg, the Owenboy River Estuary, Whitegate Bay, Ringabella Creek and the Rostellan and Poul- nabibe inlets. Cork Harbour is an internationally important wetland site, regularly supporting in excess of 20,000 wintering waterfowl. Of particular note is that the site supports internationally important populations of Black- tailed Godwit and Redshank and nationally important number of 19 other wetland species.

The Great Island Channel SAC (001058) stretches from Little Island to Midleton, with its southern boundary being formed by Great Island. It is an integral part of Cork Harbour which contains several other sites of conservation interest. Geologically, Cork Harbour consists of two large areas of open water in a limestone basin, separated from each other and the open sea by ridges of Old Red Sandstone. Within this system, Great Island Channel forms the eastern stretch of the river basin and, compared to the rest of Cork Harbour, is relatively undisturbed. Within the site is the estuary of the Owennacurra and Dungourney Rivers, these rivers, which flow through Mid- leton, provide the main source of freshwater to the North Channel. The main habitats of conservation interest are the sheltered tidal sand and mudflats and the Atlantic salt meadows. Owing to the sheltered conditions, the intertidal flats are composed mainly of soft muds. These muds support a range of macro-invertebrates, notably Macoma balthica, Scrobicularia plana, Hydrobia ulvae, Nepthys hombergi, Nereis diversicolor and Corophium volutator. Green algal species occur on the flats, especially Ulva lactua and Enteromorpha spp.

The River Blackwater SAC (002170) to the north and east of Cork City Council boundary and is an area of peaty terrain in the upper reaches of the river and of some of the tributaries gives the water a pronounced dark colour. The SAC consists of the freshwater stretches of the River Blackwater as far upstream as Ballydesmond, the tidal stretches as far as Youghal Harbour and many tributaries, the larger of which include the Licky, Bride, Flesk, Chimneyfield, Finisk, Araglin, Awbeg (Buttevant), Clyda, Glen, Allow, Dalua, Brogeen, Rathcool, Finnow, Ow- entaraglin and Awnaskirtaun. The portions of the Blackwater and its tributaries that fall within this SAC flow through the counties of Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. Nearby towns include Rathmore, Mill- street, Kanturk, Banteer, Mallow, Buttevant, Doneraile, Castletownroche, Fermoy, Ballyduff, Rathcormac, Tallow, Lismore, Cappoquin and Youghal. This SAC is designated for a range of habitat types and is of considerable conservation significance for the occurrence of good examples of habitats and populations of plant and animal species that are listed on Annexes I and II of the E.U. Habitats Directive respectively and thertance of the site is enhanced by the presence of a suite of uncommon plant   species.

 

 

 

 

Describe the individual elements of the plan (either alone or in combination with other plans or pro- jects) likely to give rise to impacts on the Natura 2000 site:

 

Describe the individual elements of the plan (either alone or in combination with other plans or pro- jects) likely to give rise to impacts on the Natura 2000 site:

The Adaptation Strategy is designed to inform Council Policy documents and actions in relation to climate change adaptation. As such it is high level and the objectives and actions are high level and not area specific.

Other Local Authority documents such as City Council Development plans will take their lead from the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. These, as part of the plan preparation process will be subject to SEA and AA that ensures that objectives and actions that result will be adequately examined for ecological effects.

Should specific actions result from these plans these will be subjected to both AA and EIA when sufficient design details exist. The above will ensure that any possible environmental and ecological effects of any outcomes from  the  adaptation  plans  will  be  adequately assessed.

Describe any likely direct, indirect or secondary impacts of the project (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects) on the Natura 2000 site by virtue of:

  • Size and scale;

 

The adaptation strategy takes in all of Cork City Council area- see Figure 2 above. Of the actions in the plan, it would also be worth mentioning that the effects of the implementation of the adaptation strategy would be ex- pected to be beneficial as it reduces risk from climate change and actions exist in the strategy to use environ- mentally friendly adaptation measures, such as the objective To protect and enhance and restore the natural environment.

  • Land-take;

 

None envisaged at this stage of the process.  Please  note  that  any actions  and  projects,  as  yet  unknown  that  may arise, will be subjected to both the AA and EIA processed as they arise.

  • Distance from Natura 2000 site or key features of the site;

 

See Brief Description of Natura 2000 sites above and also Table 4

  • Resource requirements (water abstraction etc.);

 

No policies within the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy indicate the need for abstraction of water from any designated  site.

  • Emission (disposal to land, water or air);

 

No uncontrolled emissions are envisaged as a result of the objectives and actions of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. Where these might arise, at project level and not strategy level, these will be subject to appropriate assessment in line with planning and wildlife legislation.

  • Excavation requirements;

 

Cork City Councils Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is chiefly designed to inform policy responses to climate adaptation. No excavation related activities have been mentioned in the strategy. Where this might arise at project level they will be subjected to assessment at that  stage.

  • Transportation requirements;

 

It is not considered that any of the policies put forward in the strategy call for the development of new routes and as such will not have any effect on any designated  sites.

  • Duration of construction, operation, decommissioning, etc;

 

The lifespan of the Climate Adaptation Strategy will be five years, i.e. from 2019 to 2024.

  • Other

 

None.

Describe any likely changes to the site arising as a result of:

  • reduction of habitat area:

 

None  – the objectives and  actions of the Climate Change  Adaptation  Strategy are high level  and at this stage    do not envisage habitat reduction in any of the Natura 2000 sites. As outlined above, where this might arise at project stage, it will be assessed at that level. It should be noted, that some of actions of  the plan  promote ecological  solutions  to climate adaptation  issues and these  offer  opportunities  for  habitat creation.

  • disturbance to key species;

 

None- the plan is about climate adaptation. The adoption of ecological solutions would have beneficial ecological effects and these might well allow additional buffer areas and areas that function as green infrastructure.

  • habitat or species fragmentation;

 

None- see comments immediately above.

  • reduction in species density;

 

None envisaged as the objectives and actions of the adaptation strategy are designed to inform council re- sponses to climate adaptation issues and do not envisage interventions in designated sites. As outlined above the adaptation of ecologically based responses to climate adaptation could well offer an opportunity to create wildlife habitats that would make a positive contribution to species that are of conservation interest.

  • changes in key indicators of conservation value

 

No projects giving rise to significant adverse changes in key indicators of conservation value for Natura 2000 sites are likely given that policies are in place in the Development Plans to control possible effects and to ensure that the potential for such effects is adequately assessed and taken into account in any   projects.

  • Climate change:

 

This is a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy that is designed to inform responses to the effects of climate change. These include the promotion of ecologically based adaptation to climate change.

Describe any likely impacts on the Natura 2000 site as a whole in terms of:

  • interference with the key relationships that define the structure of the sites;

 

None, see above in relation to promotion of ecologically based adaptation responses. Any projects that might result will also be assessed at design stage for possible ecological  effects.

  • interference with key relationships that define the function of the sites;

 

None.

Provide indicators of significance as a result of the identification of effects set out above in terms of:

  • loss;

 

Not applicable.

  • Fragmentation;

 

Not applicable, see response above regarding the use of ecologically based responses which would allow for the development of buffers.

  • Disruption;

 

Not applicable.

  • Disturbance;

 

Not applicable.

  • Change to key elements of the site (e.g. water quality etc.);

 

Not applicable.

Describe from the above those elements of the project or plan, or combination of elements, where the above impacts are likely to be significant or where the scale or magnitude of impacts are not known.

The objectives and actions are high level and are intended to serve as guidance for the inclusion of material in other council policy documents such as the City Councils Development Plan. It is here through mechanisms such as zoning and planning policy that the Adaptation Strategy will be given effect. These plans will be subject to SEA and AA as they are prepared and as zoning and policy responses it will be easier to assess their impacts and allow them to be modified accordingly.

 

2.4.3 Findings of No Significant Effects Matrix

Brief description of the plan:

Cork City Council Climate Adaptation Strategy 2019-2024.

Natura 2000 sites within Cork City Council area, see also Figure 3 and Ta- ble 4 for exhausted list:

Cork Harbour SPA (4030) is a large, sheltered bay system, with several river estuaries - principally those of the Rivers Lee, Doug- las, Owenboy and Owennacurra. The SPA site comprises most of the main intertidal areas of Cork Harbour, including all of the North Channel, the Douglas River Estuary, inner Lough Mahon, Monks- town Creek, Lough Beg, the Owenboy River Estuary, Whitegate Bay, Ringabella Creek and the Rostellan and Poulnabibe inlets. Cork Harbour is an internationally important wetland site, regularly supporting in excess of 20,000 wintering waterfowl. Of particular note is that the site supports internationally important populations of Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank and nationally important number of 19 other wetland species.

The Great Island Channel SAC (001058) stretches from Little Is- land to Midleton, with its southern boundary being formed by Great Island. It is an integral part of Cork Harbour which contains several other sites of conservation interest. Geologically, Cork Harbour consists of two large areas of open water in a limestone basin, separated from each other and the open sea by ridges of Old Red Sandstone. Within this system, Great Island Channel forms the eastern stretch of the river basin and, compared to the rest of Cork Harbour, is relatively undisturbed. Within the site is the estuary of the Owennacurra and Dungourney Rivers, these rivers, which flow through Midleton, provide the main source of freshwater to the North Channel. The main habitats of conservation interest are the sheltered tidal sand and mudflats and the Atlantic salt meadows. Owing to the sheltered conditions, the intertidal flats are com- posed mainly of soft muds. These muds support a range of macro- invertebrates, notably Macoma balthica, Scrobicularia plana, Hy- drobia ulvae, Nepthys hombergi, Nereis diversicolor and Coro- phium volutator. Green algal species occur on the flats, especially Ulva lactua and Enteromorpha spp

The River Blackwater SAC (002170) to the north and east of Cork City Council boundary and is an area of peaty terrain in the upper reaches of the river and of some of the tributaries gives the water a pronounced dark colour. The SAC consists of the freshwater stretches of the River Blackwater as far upstream as Ballydes- mond, the tidal stretches as far as Youghal Harbour and many tributaries, the larger of which include the Licky, Bride, Flesk, Chimneyfield, Finisk, Araglin, Awbeg (Buttevant), Clyda, Glen, Al- low, Dalua, Brogeen, Rathcool, Finnow, Owentaraglin and Awn- askirtaun. The portions of the Blackwater and its tributaries that fall within this SAC flow through the counties of Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. Nearby towns include Rathmore, Millstreet, Kanturk, Banteer, Mallow, Buttevant, Doneraile, Cas- tletownroche, Fermoy, Ballyduff, Rathcormac, Tallow, Lismore, Cappoquin and Youghal. This SAC is designated for a range of habitat types and is of considerable conservation significance for the occurrence of good examples of habitats and populations of plant and animal species that are listed on Annexes I and II of the E.U. Habitats Directive respectively and the importance of the site is enhanced by the presence of a suite of uncommon plant species.

Description of the Project or Plan

As given in Screening Matrix above.

Is the Project or Plan directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site (provide details)?

 

No.

Are there other projects or plans that to- gether with the project of plan being as- sessed could affect the site (provide de- tails)?

 

None.

 

The Assessment of Significance of  Effects

Describe how the project or plan (alone or in combination) is likely to affect the Natura 2000 sites:

None envisaged as the objectives and actions of the adaptation strategy are designed to inform council responses to climate ad- aptation issues and do not envisage interventions in designated sites. As outlined above the adaptation of ecologically based re- sponses to climate adaptation could well offer an opportunity to create wildlife habitats that would make a positive contribution to species that are of conservation  interest.

Explain why these effects are not con- sidered significant:

The effects of the implementation of the adaptation strategy would be expected to be beneficial as it reduces risk from climate change and actions exist in the strategy to use environmentally friendly adaptation measures

List of Agencies Consulted: Provide contact name and telephone or email address:

AA  Screening Reports  are being  sent to:

  • SEA Section,  Environmental  Protection Agency
  • Planning System and Spatial Policy Section
  • Development Applications Unit, Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht,

Summary of Responses received for previous draft.

Not applicable

 

Data Collected to Carry out the Assessment

 

Who carried out the As- sessment?

 

Sources of Data

 

Level of assessment Completed

 

Where can the full re- sults of the assess- ment be accessed and viewed

 

Enviroguide Consulting

 

Existing NPWS - Site Synopses, Conservation Objectives and Nau- tra2000 forms – see sec- tion 4 of this document

 

Desktop study, site visits

 

With plan documentation on request.

 

3. CONCLUSION

In conclusion, upon the examination, analysis and evaluation of the relevant information including, in particular, the nature of the Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and the likelihood of significant effects on any Natura 2000 site, in addition to considering possible in- combination effects, and applying the precautionary principles, it is concluded by the authors of this report that, on the basis of objective information, the possibility may be excluded that the Draft Strategy will have a significant effect on any of the Natura 2000 sites within the Cork City Council area or precautionary buffer zone.

Other Local Authority documents such as Cork City Development Plans will take their lead from the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. These, as part of the plan preparation process will be subject to SEA and AA process that ensures that objectives and actions that result will be adequately examined for ecological effects.

Furthermore, should specific actions from Cork City Council strategy or plan arise, they will be subjected to both AA and EIA process when sufficient design details exist. The AA and EIA process will ensure that any possible environmental and ecological effects of  any outcomes  from resulting  actions will be adequately assessed.

 

4. REFERENCES

DEHLG. (2010). Appropriate Assessment of Plans and Projects in Ireland - Guidance for Planning Au- thorities. Department of  Environment, Heritage  and Local  Government.

DHPLG. (2018). River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021. Department of Housing, Plan- ning and Local Government.

Environmental Protection Agency. (2002). Guidelines on information to be contained in Environmental Impact  Statements.  Environmental  Protection  Agency, Ireland.

Environmental Protection Agency. (2017). Guidelines on information to be contained in Environmental Impact Assessment  Reports  (Draft). Environmental  Protection  Agency, Ireland.

European Commission. (2001). Assessment of plans  and  projects  significantly affecting  Natura  2000 sites - Methodological guidance on the provisions of Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC.  European  Communities, Luxembourg.

Fossitt, J. A. (2000). A Guide to Habitats in Ireland. Kilkenny: The Heritage Council. Franklin, A. N. (2002). What is Habitat Fragmentation? Studies in Avian Biology,    20-29.

Kuikena, T., Bennetta, P., Allchinb, R., Kirkwood, J.,Baker, J., Lockyer, C., Walton, M., Sheldrick, M. (1994). PCBs, cause of death and body condition in harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) from British waters. Aquatic Toxicology, Vol: 28, Issue: 1, Page: 13-28.

NBDC (2018). National Biodiversity Data Centre online mapping [ONLINE] Available at: http://maps.bi- odiversityireland.ie/Map.aspx.  [Accessed  April 2019].

NPWS (2010). Circular NPW 1/10 & PSSP 2/10. Appropriate Assessment under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive: Guidance for Planning Authorities. Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Govern- ment.

NPWS (2018). Generic Conservation Objectives. Version 6.0. National Parks and Wildlife Service, De- partment of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Parnell, J: Curtis, T; and Cullen, E. (2012). Webb’s an Irish Flora. Hardback, 8th Ed. (March 2012),  Trinity College Dublin.

Reid, N., Hayden, B., Lundy, M.G., Pietravalle, S., McDonald, R.A. & Montgomery, W.I. (2013) National Otter Survey of Ireland 2010/12. Irish Wildlife Manuals No. 76. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of  Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin,   Ireland.

Smith, G.F., O’Donoghue, P, O’Hora K., and Delaney, E. (2010). Best Practice Guidance for Habitat Survey and Mapping. Published  by the  Heritage  Council.