EPA Ireland Submission Data available as RSS, CSV and SQLite

Whilst there is a ton of useful data on the EPA Ireland web-site, it’s not exactly easy to track what’s going on.

Tool built by https://twitter.com/conoro to scrape the thousands of individual RSS feeds and generate what is hopefully helpful to those of you who wish to monitor submissions on the site.

The code is all up on GitHub here. In summary what it does is:

  • Once a day around 1.30am GMT, it scrapes all the feeds on the EPA site
  • It saves all the data into a SQLite database and uploads that to Amazon S3
  • It updates a single small RSS feed with all the submissions from the previous day
  • It generates a new CSV file with the same data as the RSS feed and saves that to GitHub

Subscribing to the RSS Feed

Use this URL in Feedly or similar: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/conoro/epa-rss/main/output/daily.xml

Viewing the daily CSV files.

They are all here in the repo starting on Sep 22nd 2022: https://github.com/conoro/epa-rss/tree/main/output/csv/daily

Getting notified by email (experimental)

If you’d like to receive email with a link to the latest CSV each day:

  • Create a GitHub Account
  • Click the drop-down menu beside “Watch” in the top right of this project’s page.
  • Select “Custom” and tick the box beside “Issues”. Then click Apply.
  • You should start receiving the emails beginning tomorrow.

SQLite Database

The latest full set of scraped data is available as a SQLite DB that you can download here. Use something like SQLiteStudio to browse and query it.

Examining the data in the SQLite Database using Datasette Lite

You can use a very cool project by Simon Willison called Datasette Lite to browse and query all the latest data in your browser by going here. I highly recommend playing around with it, as you can query by keywords and date ranges.


Vegetation Survey and Impact Assessment for Blanket Bog Restoration Pilot Project in Wicklow Mts. Nat. Park

This RFT is for the provision of habitat and plant community mapping and establishment of baseline vegetation monitoring plots (quadrats) and production of an impact statement on proposed restoration works on the qualifying interest and site specific conservation objectives of the SAC and SPA.

This work is required for the ‘Wicklow Mountains National Park Blanket Bog Pilot Restoration Project’ which is funded by DHLGH assisted by a grant contribution from Intel Corporation.

The pilot project aims to address the deterioration in ecohydrological condition and functioning of selected areas of blanket bog (total c. 86.4 ha) within the upper Liffey River catchment near Sallygap, in the National Park and SAC (Site Code 002122).

The project will carry out restoration measures including works to rewet selected areas of bog by drain blocking in late 2022 and early 2023.

Lead-in scientific studies commenced in 2021 with installation of monitoring instrumentation for recording baseline/pre-works data on hydrology and GHG emissions

EPA Drinking Water Remedial Action List Q2 of 2022

The Remedial Action list is a record of the public water supplies known to be at risk and where the EPA is requiring Irish Water to take corrective action.

The EPA has instructed Irish Water to submit an action programme for the improvement of each of these supplies and has initiated enforcement action where action programmes were not being prepared or were not prepared to the satisfaction of the EPA.

This includes issuing legally binding Directions requiring specific work to be carried out.

Decision of the Commissioner for Environmental Information (AIE Regulations): Integrated Forestry Information System (iFORIS)

Case: OCE-108532-W5W7Z8

Date of decision: 3 October 2022
Appellant: Mr. A.

Public Authority: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine [the Department]

Issue: Whether Department were justified in refusing the request under articles 8(a)(i) or 8(a)(iii) of the AIE Regulations, whether the request was manifestly unreasonable within the meaning of article 9(2)(a) of the AIE Regulations.

Summary of the Commissioner’s Decision: The Commissioner annulled the decision of the Department and directed that a fresh decision-making process be carried out in respect of the appellant’s request.

This appeal concerns the Integrated Forestry Information System (iFORIS), which is a system maintained by the Department to support the processing of forestry license and scheme applications and payments.

On 1 April 2021, the appellant requested “a copy of, or access to, all spatial datasets available on iFORIS used by DAFM in connection with assessing Forestry Application and Licenses.” The appellant stated in his request that he was seeking access to spatial data only, and not to any personal data where consent for disclosure has not been given by the individuals concerned.

The Department issued a decision on 29 April 2021. It refused the appellant’s request under articles 8(a)(i), 8(a)(iii) and 9(2)(a) of the AIE Regulations. The Department stated that the data in question would amount to terabytes in size, and it was not feasible for the Department to supply this amount of data. The decision found that the datasets sought contained confidential personal information and information that would indicate the location of protected species. The decision also stated that many of the datasets sought are publicly available elsewhere and should be sought from the “authoritative sources”.

The decision considered the weighing of the public interest served by disclosure against the interest served by refusal and concluded that the public interest was best served by withholding the information sought.

The Department says that it holds over 100 layers of data relevant to the appellant’s request which amounts to terabytes in size and as a result, the request is manifestly unreasonable. This Office’s investigator wrote to the Department seeking further information on the steps that would be involved in processing the appellant’s request such as an estimate of time length of time it would take to fulfil the request and the impact this would have on the functioning of the Department. The Department responded stating that it would take “potentially weeks of work” to prepare the material for release, but did not provide any further information to support this statement. The Department stated that it is simply not feasible for it to supply this amount of data, but have not set out why that might be the case.

Coillte Appropriate Avoidance Measures (22-8)

AIE Request 20220254

“As part of each site visit, existing features are reviewed and updated, and new features added as required. These assessments cover water and soils, biodiversity, landscape, archaeology and cultural heritage, people and material assets. If nesting birds are detected during a site visit at any stage of the planning and operational process, appropriate avoidance measures are put in place to safeguard the nesting birds.”

The information requested is:

  1. Information on all instances where nesting birds have been detected during a site visit at any stage of the planning and operational process in Coillte properties in Co. Leitrim in 2022.
  2. Information on all appropriate avoidance measures that have been put in place by Coillte to safeguard nesting birds during the 2022 period of breeding and rearing in its properties in County Leitrim.

Summary of Decision
We have considered your request and made a decision on 28.09.2022. Following receipt of your request, I examined material held by Coillte and having taken all reasonable steps to locate the requested information and establish whether the information you have requested exists, I have been unable to locate any records relevant to your request. I therefore refuse your request under Article 7(5) of the AIE Regulations. Please note the following –

  1. Information on all instances where nesting birds have been detected during a site visit at any stage of the planning and operational process in Coillte properties in Co. Leitrim in 2022.

There were no instances where nesting birds were detected during a site visit at any stage of the planning and operational process in Coillte properties in Co. Leitrim in 2022.

  1. Information on all appropriate avoidance measures that have been put in place by Coillte to safeguard nesting birds during the 2022 period of breeding and rearing in its properties in County Leitrim.
    As no instances of nesting birds were detected as set out at Point 1 above, avoidance measures to safeguard any detected nesting birds were not required.

Tender: Restoration management of Liffey Head Bog, Wicklow Mountains SAC

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) provides the legislative and policy framework for the conservation of nature and biodiversity in Ireland. It also oversees its implementation, based on good science, with particular emphasis on the protection of habitats and species.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage manages the Irish State’s nature conservation responsibilities under national and European law. A particular responsibility of the NPWS is the designation and protection of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). NPWS and Intel Corporation are currently collaborating on an ecological restoration project on Liffey Head blanket bog in the Wicklow Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC), which is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park (WMNP).

The WMNP covers an area of 20,000 ha and most of the Park is designated as a SAC and Special Protection Area (SPA) under the European Union (EU) Habitats and Birds Directives respectively. The SAC includes a deep upland blanket system known as the Liffeyhead blanket bog that is one of best remaining areas of mountain blanket bog in eastern Ireland, with important flora and fauna and an extensive system of bog pools. Areas of this headwater bog have suffered drainage and desiccation and thus require rewetting by drain blocking and other measures to raise the lowered water levels to allow recovery of bog ecology.

The NPWS-Intel project has been ongoing since 2021, and is focused on c. 60 Ha of degraded blanket bog, in an area that straddles the Military Road between Kippure Mountain and Sally Gap (the pilot area). A number of field investigations (hydrology, geophysics/geotechnical, ecological, greenhouse gas emissions) have been conducted and the baseline conditions of the identified restoration area have been established.

Link https://irl.eu-supply.com/ctm/Supplier/PublicPurchase/224321/1