NPWS response on recording fires / vegetation burning

NPWS currently does not have centralised operational programs for recording of fires.

Vegetation burning if encountered through surveillance of Natura 2000 sites or targeted scientific monitoring, may* be reported as a pressure in section 4.3 “Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site” of the site EU report, called the Natura 2000 Standard Data Form.

These reports are available via the NPWS website by designation type and site code (‘Natura form’), e.g. https://www.npws.ie/protected-sites/sac/000407; https://www.npws.ie/sites/default/files/protected-sites/natura2000/NF000407.pdf) and are also accessible through the European Environment Agency’s EIONET Natura 2000 viewer https://natura2000.eea.europa.eu/#


NPWS targeted habitat and species monitoring programs may detect fires outside this network and these may* be reported as a pressure or threat in the monitoring publications which are also published to the NPWS website (https://www.npws.ie/publications, https://www.npws.ie/maps-and-data/habitat-and-species-data), as well as the Heritage Division web mapping portal of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage: https://dahg.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html and Data.gov.ie.

Work is ongoing to address a backlog of report data to publish as open access data through the NPWS website and data.gov.ie.

Action 2016.5: Priority list of datasets for e-Reporting

Access to environmental information remains challenging

The new Open Data legislation only comes into play only the question of access is decided. An applicant must prove a right of access (eg via AIE/FOI) first, before making an application for Open Data access

Commission officials have gone through the relevant EU legislation, together with the Member States, and prepared a list of datasets on environmental reporting.

That list also reflects the data gaps identified during the evaluation of the state-of-implementation and the fitness of the Directive for its intended purpose (a so-called REFIT evaluation).

Note: There are no reporting obligations on members states (but suggestions can be made which will be transmitted to the relevant units in the Commission)

The main objectives for this action are to:

  • communicate environmental information priorities and expectations to Member States by clearly identifying the spatial data sets relevant for environmental reporting;
  • provide guidance on consistent mapping of reporting obligations and supporting data to INSPIRE spatial objects for the development of pan-European data sets;
  • identify reporting redundancies and explore opportunities for streamlining;
  • improve the timeliness and the quality of reported data.

The list is a ‘living inventory’ of environmental information needs and as such provides an instrument to:

  • incrementally build comparable INSPIRE maturity across member states for all INSPIRE components (metadata, services, interoperability, data sharing) based on a common setting;
  • plan tangible and usable INSPIRE deliverables for eReporting;
  • monitor progress on INSPIRE implementation in general and for the reporting use case in specific;
  • promote the reuse of the INSPIRE infrastructure for reporting purposes.

EU plan is to propose these e-reporting datasets be included on the upcoming list of high-value datasets (under Open Data Directive), which will have to be (a) available free of charge, subject to a two year derogation/exemption; (b) machine readable; (c) provided via APIs; and (d) provided as a bulk download, where relevant

Due to the time the above process will take, plus the addition of the 2-year derogation, we are looking to 2025-26 for implementation ?

89 datasets are currently listed

Summary List of Datasets

Information on Ambient Air Quality

List of major roads, railways, airports and agglomerations

Strategic Noise Maps

River Basin Districts and Competent Authorities

Characterisation of River Basin Districts

Monitoring Programmes / Location of monitoring stations (water)

Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment and Areas of Potential Significant Flood Risk

Flood Hazard Maps and Flood Risk Maps

Units of Management and Competent Authorities / Boundaries of management units / Competent Authority

Information on the subdivision of marine regions and subregions / Subdivisions of marine regions or subregions

Monitoring programmes / Location of monitoring stations / Marine monitoring stations

Report on Quality of Water for Human Consumption / Water supply zones and related monitoring information, attainment of limit values / DWD water supply zones

Identification of Bathing Areas / Bathing water areas (beaches falling under the Directive)

Information on monitoring results / Location of wastewater treatment plants, agglomerations, discharge points and sensitive areas (Location of UWWTD plants)

Information on monitoring results / Location of wastewater treatment plants, agglomerations, discharge points and sensitive areas (Location of discharge points linked to WFD water body)

Information on monitoring results / Location of wastewater treatment plants, agglomerations, discharge points and sensitive areas (Sensitive areas, less sensitive areas and catchments)

Monitoring and Implementation report / Monitoring data written text (NiD monitoring stations)

Vulnerable zones notification / Datasets of vulnerable zones

Implementation Report / Habitat types and species distribution and range data

Supporting reporting obligation under Habitats Directive

Habitat types, species distribution (Art. 17: implementation measures) / Habitat types and species distribution and range data (Various habitat maps using INSPIRE geographical grid system)

Location of Natura 2000 sites / Boundaries of NATURA 2000 sites

Birds geographical distribution (Art. 12: implementation measures)

ALIEN SPECIES Reporting on various issues, including on the surveillance system, actions plans, eradication and management measures etc.

Areas designated under national legislation for the purpose of nature protection including sites such as national parks and nature reserves. (This reporting obligation is an Eionet core data flow)

E-PRTR Report covering data reported by industrial facilities covering 65 economic activities within 9 industrial sectors (Article 7) / List of facilities and related emissions data

E-PRTR Report covering data reported by industrial facilities covering 65 economic activities within 9 industrial sectors / List of facilities and related emissions data (Information related to actual pollutant releases)

IED Reporting obligations on IED-installations (including data on competent authorities, permit information (e.g. derogations), and baseline reports) (Article 72) / List of installations, general information, contact information, competent authorities, and permit information (Location of industrial and agricultural installations falling under IED)

IED Transitional plans covering selected pollutants from the (large) combustion plants (Article 32) (Location of combustion plants)

IED (Information related to actual pollutant releases)

Boreholes for hydraulic fracturing (locations)

Seveso III location of establishments

Location of islands and isolated settlements that are exempted from permission of dumping waste

Landfill of waste – Location of landfill of waste sites

Mining Waste / operators of extractive waste facilities / Location of facilities (including exemptions)

Use of sludge in agriculture: the quantities used, the criteria followed and any difficulties encountered / Names and addresses of the recipients of the sludge / Place where the sludge is to be used / Agricultural facilities receiving sludge

Information regarding mercury located in the Member State territories (Location of storage facilities)

 




Open Data Requests (CSO and EPA): OIC decision

Notes:

Have gone back to clarify with OIC on a number of points. For example, in the EPA case, the EPA granted access to the database (illegal dumps register) under AIE. OIC note that “a right of access to a document is an essential precursor to the right to re-use such a document.” I’d assume the AIE grants that right of access, so the ODD request should stand ? Will see what OIC say on this.

CSO case was always more nuanced. CSO refuse to publish livestock data in the format that they collect it in. So cannot provide the ‘right of access’ that OIC require here, and would have to provide right of access by other means … which for environmental data, is tricky !

Open Data Request 001: EPA Register of Illegal Dumps

OOD

I refer to your request dated 19th January 2022 under the Open Data Directive 2021, which was received on 19th January 2022 for information held by EPA. Your request sought:

“Under the Open Data Directive to request publication of the national database of unregulated waste disposal sites (illegal dumps)


This database is known as the Section 22 database, and the link is at the following URL:

http://watermaps.wfdireland.ie/LandfillRiskAssessment/Authentication/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fLandfillRiskAssessment%2fDefault.aspx

I, Eileen Carroll, have now made a final decision.  I am not in a position to publish the Section 22 Register as requested, and I explain why I cannot do so below.  I can, however, grant you access to the content of the  Register (See 2 below) your request on [10th February 2022.]. 

(1)  Background

The database, or Section 22 register, was established by the EPA over 14 years ago and allowed local authorities to enter details of unregulated waste disposal sites however, the site details entered by local authorities varied.   All local authorities appear to have entered the details of their “closed landfills” in accordance with the Waste Management (Certification of Historic Unlicenced waste Disposal & Recovery Activity) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 524 of 2008) and guidance provided by the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government in Circular No. WPRR 03/09 which stated:

For the purposes of the above Regulations, only those landfills which were not subject to specific authorisation & closed during the period 1977-1996 needed to be entered on the register.

Following discussions between the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices (RWMPOs), EPA & National Waste Collection Permit Office (NWCPO) it was formally agreed between the EPA and the NWCPO, in December 2019, that the register would migrate over to the NWCPO portal.

The register currently being developed by the NWCPO will provide comprehensive details in relation to the “closed landfills”. It will record details of the current status of all other sites which were originally included in the Section 22 register.

NWCPO are, therefore, in a transition period, and they hope to complete the migration in the coming weeks.

As you are aware, access to the register has always been restricted to certain EPA and Local Authority staff, and NWCPO’s intention as part of the migration is to maintain those restrictions.

(2) Access

However, you can gain access to the content of the register, as there is already published data available in this regard.

The three current Regional Waste Management Plans (2015 – 2021), which are statutory documents, each include an appendix detailing the unregulated waste disposal sites listed on the register in the respective region. These plans can be downloaded from the following websites:

·         CUR: http://www.curwmo.ie/

·         EMR: http://emwr.ie/emwr-plan/

·         SR: http://www.southernwasteregion.ie/

Furthermore, these three Plans will soon be replaced by a single National Waste Management Plan for a Circular Economy (2022 – 2028), and this Plan which will be published later this year, will contain an update with respect to the register and the progress made over the course of the current three Plans, with respect to addressing the unregulated waste disposal sites on the register.

NWCPO will be in a position to offer an updated list of the sites on the register once they conclude the migration process. While they do not have an exact timeframe for this, they expect that this would be sooner than the publication of the National Plan, which they expect to publish a draft of in June.  

In the event that you are not happy with this decision, you can make an appeal in relation to this matter. You can do so by writing to the Open Data Liaison Officer, Environmental Protection Agency, PO Box 3000, Johnstown Castle Estate, County Wexford or by e-mail to D.Queries@epa.ie.

You should make your appeal within 4 weeks from the date of this notification, where a day is defined as a working day excluding the weekend and public holidays. However, making a late appeal may be permitted in appropriate circumstances. The appeal will involve a complete reconsideration of the matter by a more senior member of the staff of this body.

Kind regards,

Eileen Carroll

Programme Officer I  ICT Team

Office of Communications and Corporate Services, Wexford

Oifigeach Cláir I TFC

An Oifig Cumarsáide agus Seirbhísí Corparáideacha,Loch Garman

Open Data Directive in relation to requests for Environmental and Agri Environmental Data publication in Ireland

Circular 20/2021 – Open Data Directive

Timeframes

The timeframe for a request under the Open Data Directive is 20 days, with the possibility of an extension of an additional 20 days

“Any person can make a request and requests must be dealt with within 20 days in accordance with procedures set out in Regulation 6 of SI 376/2021. Please note the response time may be extended to 40 days where the request is extensive or comprehensive.”

Appeals to OIC

Refusals (or ghosting the original request, which is deemed to be a refusal), do not need to be submitted for Internal Review (unlike FOI/AIE requests), and can go direct to the OIC by way of Appeal. This should speed up the process. As of Jan 2022, OIC have received no appeals.

Which Public Sector Bodies are covered

The Regulations apply to ALL public sector bodies, with certain exceptions, notably educational, research (apart from publicly funded research data) and cultural organisations.

Publicly funded research data held by researchers, research performing organisations and research funding organisations has been brought under the scope of the Directive.

Does Open Data apply to public undertakings

Public Undertakings also come under the scope of the Directive. These refer to entities entrusted with the provision of public services – water, energy, transport, postal services, public transport services by rail and road, air carriers or marine transport services which are funded or governed by public bodies. Public undertaking are encouraged to provide data for reuse, but are not required to comply with the request regime.

Where Public Undertakings make their data available for re-use they must do so in compliance with the provisions in the Directive relating to open formats, charging, exclusive arrangements etc

Fees

There are no fees but note, that this is subject to some exceptions and if charges are applied these must be clearly set out on the website of the charging organisation. The position with regard to charging and how charges may be calculated are set out in Regulation 8, Charges for Re-Use, of SI 376/2021.
Public sector bodies who are allowed to charge above the marginal rate, in accordance with Regulation 8 of SI 376/2021, must notify the Open Data Unit in DPER in order to be included in the published list of such bodies. Here is the relevant SI: https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2021/si/376/made/en/print

Open Data Disclosure Logs

There is no requirement to publish Open Data Disclosure Logs, but note Under Regulation 4 of SI 376/2021 all Departments/Offices and relevant bodies under their aegis are obliged to supply to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with information as requested from time to time, such as open data progress reports. So from a practical perspective an applicant can use FOI/AIE to request Open Data Progress Reports.

My personal opinion is that Open Data Disclosure Logs will be introduced by some public bodies, in the same way that some publish AIE Disclosure Logs (which they do not have to publish). Forcing applicants to use AIE process to request AIE Disclosure Logs is just silly, so likely be sorted out.