Biodiversity and archaeology
Our commitment to biodiversity & archaeology
At all times, efforts are made to minimise the impact of our construction and development projects on the ecological and archaeological environment.
Minimising environmental impact
Gas Networks Ireland construction and development activities have considerable environmental and archaeological implications. We offer a partnership approach to all these construction projects, by welcoming input from environmental and heritage bodies into the design and construction process, to minimise environmental impact.
During the planning and construction phases of projects, Gas Networks Ireland employs engineers and environmental specialists to carry out rigorous environmental assessments. These assessments have the potential to identify environmental sensitivities that may be affected by a proposed plan or pipeline route resulting in Environmental Impact Statements where applicable, Environmental Management Plans and Waste Management Plans.
Where possible, re-routing is considered but often Gas Networks Ireland takes on board the recommended measures to prevent or minimise environmental impact. Recent project examples of measures Bord Gáis has taken, during construction projects, to minimise impact on the environment include:
- Bat Surveys on Curraleigh West to Middleton Pipeline
- Mammal habitat surveys on Macroom Feeder Main
All land traversed by pipelines is reinstated to its original state following construction. This includes levelling sub-soil; spreading of topsoil over spread; tilling topsoil and re-sowing grass; and reinstating fences and building walls. An Agricultural Liaison Officer will monitor the quality of reinstatement to ensure land is restored to its original condition. Gas Networks Ireland makes it a priority to keep in contact with individual landowners throughout any project that takes place on their land
Since its inception in 1976, Bord Gáis (and now Gas Networks Ireland) has been instrumental in spearheading archaeological awareness during construction projects in this country. In 2002, Bord Gáis, in consultation with (the then) Department of the Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, developed a Code of Practice. The Code of Practice includes processes for dealing with archaeological issues that arise during pipeline construction. As part of this Code, Gas Networks Ireland has agreed to appoint a project archaeologist at the pre-planning stage of any major project. As part of this Code, Gas Networks Ireland has agreed to appoint a project archaeologist at the pre-planning stage of any major project.
Gas Networks Ireland recognises the importance of reinstatement and heritage. Route and site selection studies enable the design team to avoid known and recorded archaeological monuments. Aerial photographing, remote sensing and field walking are used to identify as many sites as possible before construction begins. The company has distinguished itself by always accepting responsibility for archaeological interests. Findings are displayed in local museums, where possible, and the remainder are brought to the National Museum.
Also through the years, Gas Networks Ireland has produced a number of special interest books and reports documenting archaeological findings, etc. at various digs arising from our construction projects. Various construction projects have uncovered some interesting and varied findings. For example, during the recent construction of the Curraleigh West to Midleton pipeline, numerous kilns, pits, mounds and buried structures were excavated under licence. This pipeline project is now complete, though a team of archaeologists continues to work on the conservation of all objects found and on preparing a publicly presentable record of all the sites uncovered.