Expert Consultancy – Environmental Planning Application Reports

There are encouraging signs that the Irish planning system is edging ever more closely to a digitised submissions procedure. A planning pack can consist of thousands of pages, depending on the scale and complexity of the development. A move away from the cumbersome paper submissions process would be most welcome by designers, planners and architects alike!

Conversely, as environmental protection measures become increasingly embedded within statutory planning legislation, a typical planning application must now be accompanied by several environmental reports to encourage the local authority to grant planning permission.

ORS is involved in a high volume of planning applications each year, and our design teams have observed the request for the following environmental reports become standard by local authorities:

  • Flood Risk Assessments
  • Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMP)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Reports
  • Appropriate Assessment (AA) Screening Reports

If  you have recently been requested to provide one of the above reports, please find a brief explanation for why the local authority has made this request, as described by the ORS Environmental Team.

Flood Risk Assessments

A Flood Risk Assessment is requested by the local authorities when the proposed area for development is located on lands that are historically prone to flooding. There are typically four sources of flooding which can pose a risk to a site:

  1. Fluvial – River and Estuarine Sources
  2. Pluvial – Heavy Rainfall
  3. Coastal – Tidal Surges
  4. Groundwater – Saturation of the layer beneath the site.

There are plenty of publicly available map viewers that can indicate if a site is prone to flooding. Check out this viewer developed by the OPW.

Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)

A Construction Environmental Management Plan was typically requested by Council’s or ABP for larger developments such as a warehouse or a mid-sized residential estate; however, recently, ORS has witnessed requests for a CEMP for developments as small as an extension to a residential property.

A CEMP is essentially a document that will outline the site-specific, environmental risks posed by a project regarding the source, pathway, & receptor linkages. It will include a comprehensive list of mitigation measures that will ensure protection from environmental & ecological risks for the project’s duration.

The Council will then hold the contractor to an account of the measures proposed in this document.

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Report

On receipt of any planning application, the local authority is obliged by the Planning and Development Regulations to consider the size and scale of the proposed activities associated with both the construction phase and operation phase of the proposed development, and determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) is required in support of the planning application. An Environmental Assessment Screening Report must be carried out by a competent person who usually constitutes an environmental professional or engineer. Increasingly, ORS has noticed the onus to screen a proposed development being placed back onto the applicant by The Council, usually as a request at the pre-planning stage – particularly for developments that really toe the line of the EIA thresholds as listed in the planning regulations.

Appropriate Assessment (AA) Screening Report 

Similar to the EIA screening report described report, the local authority is obliged to consider the impacts of the proposed development on ecological receptors as part of the planning and development regulations. An AA Screening Report must be carried out by a competent person who usually constitutes a fully qualified and chartered ecologist.

ORS is dedicated to providing services that promote environmental compliance and sustainability in every area of a project’s life cycle cost-effectively and sustainably. Our team of dedicated environmental professionals have a wealth of experience in preparing each of the reports listed above. They are at hand to provide a cost-effective solution.

Get in touch with our environmental team at if you want to learn more about our environmental planning services.

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