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Research 342: Ecohydrology, Greenhouse Gas Dynamics and Restoration Guidelines for Degraded Raised Bogs

Authors: Shane Regan, Michael Swenson, Mark O’Connor and Laurence Gill, September 2020

Year: 2020

This report presents the results of an integrated scientific study on two raised bogs, Clara Bog, Co Offaly and Abbeyleix Bog, Co Laois, which are considered to be representative of lowland peatland conditions encountered in Ireland. To assess the restoration potential of degraded raised bog systems, and the level of management required to address the degradation, a simplified set of guidelines is provided as a summary in this report.

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Research 341: Assessing the Potential of Drones to Take Water Samples and Physico-chemical Data from Open Lakes

Authors: Heather Lally, Ian O’Connor, Liam Broderick, Mark Broderick, Olaf Jensen and Conor Graham, September 2020

Year: 2020

Water sampling remains a key component in the monitoring and assessment of aquatic environments. Sampling requiring the use of a boat can lead to issues around accessibility, particularly at remote lakes where there may be a lack of a slipway. This research has successfully demonstrated that water chemistry data collected using drone water sampling methods are not statistically different from those produced by boat sampling.

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Research 340: Valorisation of Composted Organic Fines and Sewage Sludge Using Pyrolysis (OF-PYR)

Authors: Marzena Kwapinska, David A. Agar, Bart Bonsall and James J. Leahy, September 2020

Year: 2020

In Ireland, organic “fines” residue, derived from the separation of municipal solid waste and sewage sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants, are currently processed for disposal as wastes. The Valorisation of Composted Organic Fines and Sewage Sludge Using Pyrolysis project (OF-PYR) investigated the potential of slow pyrolysis as a technology for their treatment as an alternative to other disposal options.

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Research 339: High-resolution Climate Projections for Ireland – A Multi-model Ensemble Approach

Authors: Paul Nolan and Jason Flanagan, September 2020

Year: 2020

In this study, regional climate models were employed to dynamically downscale the coarse information of Global Climate Models to provide detailed projections of 21st-century regional climate change in Ireland. The projections were run at high spatial resolution (4 km grid spacing), allowing a more accurate evaluation of the local impacts of climate change.

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Research 343: Elucidating Levels and Pathways of Human Exposure in Ireland to Brominated Flame Retardants and Perfluoroalkyl Substances

Authors: Stuart Harrad, Daniel Drage, Mohamed Abdallah, Nina Wemken and Marie Coggins, September 2020

Year: 2020

Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been used extensively in applications such as electrical goods, soft furnishings and building insulation foam. The ELEVATE project generated data to facilitate the assessment of human exposure to these chemicals.

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Research 345: Furthering Understanding of Emissions from Landfilled Waste Containing POPBFRs and PFASs (FUEL)

Authors: Stuart Harrad, Daniel Drage, Martin Sharkey and Harald Berresheim, September 2020

Year: 2020

Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been used extensively in applications such as electrical goods, soft furnishings and building insulation foam. The FUEL project measured these chemicals in leachate from landfills, and collected air, soil and groundwater samples traceable to these landfills to further investigate.

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Research 338: Greening Transport: Final Report

Authors: Brian Caulfield, Paraic Carroll, Shreya Dey, Bidisha Ghosh and Aoife Ahern, August 2020

Year: 2020

The Greening Transport project examined the behavioural response of commuters within the Greater Dublin Area, to a range of policy incentives to encourage travellers to make greater usage of sustainable travel modes for trips to places of work or education. The results suggest that policy incentives alone could lead to tangible improvements in commuting time and cost constitute valuable guidance and recommendations for policymakers.

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Research 337: Responding to the Energy Transition in Ireland: The Experience and Capacity of Communities

Authors: Clare Watson, Evan Boyle, Gerard Mullally and Brian Ó Gallachóir, August 2020

Year: 2020

Recently, Ireland has witnessed a significant increase in interest in and policy focus on the role of citizens and communities in the energy transition to a low-carbon future. This research project has engaged with community energy groups over a 3-year period and investigated how we might support the development of community capacity to effectively engage in energy transitions.

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Research 336: Charting Ireland’s Sustainable Future: Innovative Approaches towards Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Enterprises

Authors: Colm Gaskin, Ken Stockil, Niall Keely and Myles Kingston, August 2020

Year: 2020

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a call for change – a change to how we live, work, think and interact, both with each other and with our environment, to protect and secure our future and the future of the planet. This report captures the key recurring themes from Ireland’s engagement to date with the seven environmental SDGs and its role in supporting the private sector to deliver impactful contributions to these SDGs.

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Research 335: Ecosystem Tipping Points: Learning from the Past to Manage for the Future

Authors: Deirdre Brophy, Cóllín Minto, Olga Lyashevska, Róisín Nash, Ian O’Connor, Tom Doyle, Damien Haberlin and Kieran Lyons, August 2020

Year: 2020

Marine ecosystems are undergoing unprecedented change, with natural capital declining to the point that benefits accrued by humans are at risk. This project aimed to collate and integrate datasets describing the Celtic Sea ecosystem, and to use this data to quantify how physical and biological ecosystem components have changed in recent decades and to establish relationships between ecosystem responses and external pressures.

Environmental impacts (positive and negative) flowing from COVID-19 and related measures

Authors: Eileen O’Leary, Safaa Al Tameemi, Sarah Broderick and Colman McCarthy, August 2020

Year: 2020

This report presents the findings from a small-scale research study on the main environment-related impacts arising from the COVID-19 experience in Ireland, both positive and negative. While focused primarily on the environmental effects, related effects such as changes in consumption, which have knock-on environmental impacts are also included.

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Research 334: Sustainable Voluntary Communities: Support for Sustainable Environmental, Social and Economic Development

Authors: Bernadette O’Regan, Richard Moles, Rosemary Byrne and Anne Bennett, August 2020

Year: 2020

The need to involve voluntary communities at local level in the implementation of successful sustainable development programmes to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is widely recognised. This research identified 36 Irish communities that were, or were actively planning to be, involved in local-scale action to enhance sustainability. Six of the 36 were selected for this research project.

Covid-19 and Sheer Wellbeing 2020 - Access to and Use of Blue/Green Spaces in Ireland during a Pandemic

Authors: Gesche Kindermann, Christine Domegan and Sinead Duane, August 2020

Year: 2020

This Small-Scale Study looked at the access to and use of blue/green spaces in Ireland during a Pandemic. This report builds upon and extends Our Environment, Our Health, Our Wellbeing: Access to Blue/Green Spaces and Water Quality in Ireland (2017-HW-MS-12).

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Research 333: TriREUSE – Trialling the Preparation for Reuse of Consumer Laptops, Tablets and Smartphones

Authors: Damian Coughlan and Colin Fitzpatrick, August 2020

Year: 2020

Information and communication technology (ICT) devices contain critical raw materials. The TriREUSE project aimed to provide an insight into possible reuse rates for WEEE collections that target consumer ICT products with reuse potential. The project involved a series of 10 dedicated collection events that encouraged people to dispose of old or unwanted data-bearing devices, with the incentive of a free data destruction service.

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Research 332: An Investigation of the Optimum Specification for Soil Depressurisation Systems (Active and Passive) That Take Account of Irish Building Practices

Authors: Le Chi Hung, Jamie Goggins, Marta Fuente and Mark Foley, July 2020

Year: 2020

In Ireland, Radon is the second biggest cause of lung cancer and it is estimated that 9% of homes exceed the reference level of Radon. Studies in other countries have indicated that the effectiveness of passive sumps is enhanced by sealing across the base of the building. This project examines the characterisation of the T1 Struc and T2 Perm specified granular fill materials for soil depressurisation systems for buildings.

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Research 331: IMPLiCIt: IMProving inversion modeL Capability in Ireland

Authors: Colin O’Dowd, Damien Martin and Dèlia Arnold, July 2020

Year: 2020

The IMPLiCIt project aims to develop a combined measurement and modelling system to verify methane sources over Ireland and regions affecting the Irish domain, and to improve Irish national capacities to estimate and verify national methane and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories.

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Research 330: COSAINT: Cattle Exclusion from Watercourses: Environmental and Socio-economic Implications

Authors: Daire Ó hUallacháin, Eleanor Jennings, Patricia Antunes, Stuart Green, Paul Kilgarriff, Suzanne Linnane, Paul O’Callaghan, Matt O’Sullivan, Fiona Regan, Mary Ryan and Mary Kelly-Quinn, July 2020

Year: 2020

Loss of pollutants from grassland systems to water bodies is a significant threat to water quality and represents one of the main environmental problems facing agri-ecosystems in Ireland. This project evaluated existing literature and generated temporal and spatial data on the environmental impact of cattle exclusion measures.

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Research 329: Encouraging Environmentally Friendly Behaviour with Insights from Behavioural Economics

Authors: Leonhard K. Lades, J. Andrew Kelly and J. Peter Clinch, July 2020

Year: 2020

The 2019 Climate Action Plan sets out targets for Ireland in sectors including transport, residential heating and waste. To achieve these targets, infrastructure investments are essential. However, infrastructure investments are not enough, the investments must be paired with broad behavioural change. This report aims to support environmental policymaking in Ireland with the goal of encouraging environmentally friendly behaviour.

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Research 328: Eco-Health: Ecosystem Benefits of Greenspace for Health

Authors: Mark Scott, Mick Lennon, Owen Douglas and Craig Bullock, July 2020

Year: 2020

This project advances the perspective that accessible and well-designed green spaces are essential infrastructure that is fundamental to the health and well-being of thriving and inclusive communities. There is a scientific consensus that green space provides multiple benefits for enhancing health and well-being, and these benefits provided by green space are increasingly recognised in policy at international, national and local levels.

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Research 327: Developing the Potential of Community Energy Action Groups in the Transition to a Low-carbon Society

Authors: Susan Byrne and Bernadette O’Regan, July 2020

Year: 2020

In Ireland, approximately 38% of the population live in rural regions. Rural populations contribute significantly more to carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in the transport and residential energy sectors than their urban counterparts. In relation to community sustainability, this report evaluates the opportunities for rural communities in low-carbon transition in relation to energy, waste, transport and other contributing factors.

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