EPA Land Evidence Review Group


This group took over from the group known as the National Land Cover and Habitat Mapping (NLCHM) Working Group. The FOI was to request details of their meetings and any related reports.

The first phase of the land use evidential review is due to be completed at the end of March 2022. The location of the finished documents is to be confirmed but it is anticipated they will be published on a public website (EPA, DECC or DAFM).

In the meantime, anyone interested in land cover and habitat mapping can see recent progress via this FOI. Plus I’ve pulled out a few notes on specific points of interest.

If you’re not interested in the general area of habitat mapping, but have a specific sector interest (e.g. peatland, forestry, agriculture, biodiversity) skip straight to the last excel document, as it’s a good summary listing of sector targets and when they are to be achieved by.

In particular, take a look at the document entitled “LAND-USE POLICY CATALOGUE: National policy assessment support to contribute to a land use evidence review” December 2021, by Minogue Environmental Consulting Ltd. & Environmental Protection Agency.

This review was undertaken in alignment with Action 165 of the EPA’s Interim Climate Change Actions 2021, under which a Phase 1 Evidential Review was to be delivered for Action 165b, “Carry out work programme agreed by Steering Group to prepare evidential review” pertaining to the existing state of policy for land-use in Ireland. The review attempts to improve knowledge and close existing data gaps pertaining to land-use in Ireland

Also note

CSO doesn’t have spatial data on land ownership. Land ownership is an important issue. Its important to link land ownership to land use in Ecosystems Services accounting.

Tailte Eireann is a merge of PRA, Land Registry and OSI. It will be formally established in January 2023. Land ownership data assessment issue raises GDPR considerations.

Discussions on adding OPW, Coillte and Bord na Mona to the Group

EPA is progressing a LULUCF regulation data reporting project gathering data to calculate emissions and removal of GHG from land

Signpost farms (110 best practice farms for carbon) will establish a baseline habitat map for these farms (including hedgerows). Linked to new scoring system for habitats on farms. Teagasc have also submitted a research paper for new methods for mapping paddocks.

CSO publishing on grassland and cropland from Corine data with preliminary indications of conditions. CSO are creating a survey on household attitudes concerning nature. CSO are producing a framework document with suggestions for national statistics on biodiversity. Acquiring a GIS statistician in the team. [Note: a lot of CSO agri environmental data is not published in modern mapping formats. CSO use DEDs and townlands in census data for sheep, cattle etc, which is not useful for mapping actual density]

EPA have completed a study on using satellite images to identify illegal waste activity (large dumps). The study has created a risk map for illegal waste dumping activity. It concluded it is not feasible to use satellite images to automatically identify illegal waste dumps as it returns too many false positives and more work is needed to eliminate these.

OSI is tendering for sensor technology. R&D focus is around generation of remotely sensed digital twin to integrate 2D and 3D mesh information. This would enable shading of oblique objects based on the colour information from objects underneath. GeoHive2 being formally launched in November at GeoGov.

OSI gave an update on the progress of landcover mapping project. For landcover mapping, the country is divided into eight biogeographical areas. Half the country has completed production and validation, the Burren area is to complete in August and the North-West and West will be completed in November. If external validation is possible for the NW and West (as has been done for the Eastern areas) this would be helpful. It will be next year when all data is ready to release but OSI are thinking about the products that would come from the landcover map.

The 3 excel sheets provided via this FOI need further consideration. For example, Task 3 sheet below, suggests much of the priority work on peatland protection is planned to be pushed out to 2025. This is the first time I’ve seen this written down.

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