Correspondence between EPA and Ken Bucke of DAFM Forest Service in relation to waterbodies which do not currently have status assigned

EPA OEA AIE 2023 05

AIE Request: AIE EPA Correspondence with K Bucke (FS)

I wish to request a copy of all of the correspondence / interaction between the EPA and Ken Bucke of the Forest Service referred to in the highlighted section of the email, including any attachments.To include the Minutes / Recording of any meetings.

Hi Mary,
Thanks of the presentation earlier and I was interested to hear your comment about the WFD unassigned
waterbodies and the road ahead. I’ve spoken to Jenny and Marie informally about it in the past but as you
mentioned we could contact you if there is a planning project being affected, I hope you don’t mind me contacting you.
Would you be free to have a conversation with Kevin and me about it sometime? The unassigned waterbodies judgement is causing us issues as some appellants are using it as a tool for objecting, citing the unassigned waterbodies, and so there are numerous applications held up at both the application stage and in the Forestry Appeals Committee. Obviously the cases referred to in the judgement, (Weser and the fish farm), both impact the respective waterbodies with certainty, whereas with forestry projects the objective is at all times to stay back from the water and not impact if it can be avoided.

Jenny and Marie mentioned an extrapolation exercise being undertaken but I’m just wondering if this has been parked until the court hearing or if it is still planned to release the updated maps?
Any help or guidance you could give us would be very welcome, and perhaps WebEx call or similar to talk it over would be best?
Many thanks

Hi Ken – no problem at all and thanks for coming back to me. I was thinking myself we should wrap up the discussion to get back to the meeting so didn’t take it that you were cutting me off at all. I did get a land with the 1000 applications – I hadn’t realised there were quite so many but hopefully we will have most waterbodies assigned soon.
Kind regards

From: Bucke, Ken
Sent: Monday 29 November 2021 14:47
To: Mary Gurrie
Subject: Apology!

Hi Mary,
I meant to email your after the LIFE IP meeting the other day but got side-tracked. I wanted to apologise, I didn’t mean to come across like I was cutting you off when we were talking about the unassigned waterbodies; it was more that I didn’t want to put you on the spot after I mentioned there are over 1000 licences affected, so again, apologies if it came across that way. It really was more that I realised I’d said too much and thought it best to move on!
Best regards

Hi Ken
The validation process is taking a little longer than expected but we should have the the status assessments available soon for most identified waterbodies – I will let you know when we have them available.

Hi Mary,
Thanks for the below and for attaching the reasoning to the reopening of the judgement.
I am wondering if there is any update on the assigning of status? I’m sorry for chasing up but it’s a standing issue on a weekly meeting we have, since the original judgement, and I need to give the Senior Inspector an update.
Many thanks

Hi Kevin
Yes the Sweetman vs ABP case was reopened – on foot of information we provided rather than an appeal by us. We were then joined as a notice party. There was actually a further judgement yesterday evening – Judge Hyland has decided to refer a number of question to the ECJ. I’ve attached the copy I have for your information but you might want to get the official published version if needed. In brief the questions relate to how the WFD should be interpreted for waterbodies that aren’t identified (eg small lakes). We haven’t had a chance to consider it fully yet and I’m not sure what the implications of the referral are for competent authorities.

On foot of the original judgement we are working on assigning status to all identified waterbodies (i.e. those that are identified as WFD waterbodies but are not monitored). This work is coming to a conclusion so we hope to have the result available if not before Christmas than early in the new year. That should cover a large percentage of the waterbodies which do not currently have status assigned. There may be some gaps left which we will need to consider.
I’ve copied Ken in as well as we have been corresponding on this issue and I am aware it has implications for your work.
I hope that’s clear – let me know if you want any further details.

From: Collins, Kevin
Sent: Tuesday 7 December 2021 16:00
To: Mary Gurrie
Subject: Checking details from Thursday’s Blue Dot meeting

Hi Mary, it was great to tune in again to the Blue Dot process, and to catch up on developments. Loads of heavy lifting going on, as always!
But I just wanted to confirm something – during your own update, I believe you said that the Hyland case has been reopened (supposedly on the basis of an appeal from the EPA?) and that work was continuing on assigned status to the various waterbodies involved, with that process to be completed in the coming months.
The above is from my own records, and I just want to check if it’s an accurate picture of where things stand. I’m checking as I’m answering a related query raised by a District Inspector.
Many thanks,
Kevin Collins
Forestry Inspector Grade 1
Environment Section, Forestry Inspectorate
An Roinn Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara
Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine
3 West, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
M 087 222 9200 T (01) 607 2502

From: Shane O’Boyle
Sent: Monday 28 February 2022 17:37
To: Bucke, Ken
Cc: Mary Gurrie; Catherine Bradley
Subject: Water status for unmonitored WFD water bodies

Dear Ken,
I am pleased to inform you that we have now completed the exercise to assign water status to unmonitored WFD river water bodies.
The information is available to download from the EPA’s Geoportal site at the link below through the Water/Water Framework Directive tab under Status 2013-2018 (you may need to sroll down fully to see the tab).
If you have any questions or problems in accessing the information please let me know.
Best regards,

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