Latest EPA Research 2030 Reports

in: Research EPA Research Reports
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Research 425: Connecting People to Climate Change Action: Informing Participatory Frameworks for the National Dialogue on Climate Action (C-CHANGE)

Authors: Marguerite Nyhan, Barry O'Dwyer and Yairen Jerez Columbié, October 2022

Year: 2022

Ireland has committed to achieving a net-zero and climate-neutral economy by 2050. The C-CHANGE project is focused on developing solutions and provides guidance on facilitating stakeholders’ and citizens’ participation in environmental and climate dialogues and thus in climate action nationally and internationally. The research outputs provide clear and flexible guidelines that can be adapted to different contexts, sectors and audiences by practitioners, researchers and authorities.

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Research 422: Soil Organic Carbon and Land Use Mapping (SOLUM)

Authors: Matthew Saunders, Gabriela Mihaela Afrasinei, Jesko Zimmerman, Alina Premrov, Kevin Black and Stuart Green, September 2022

Year: 2022

Soils contain more than twice the amount of carbon held in the atmosphere, but globally approximately 1600 million tonnes of carbon are lost from the soil each year due to cultivation and land use. This research highlights how large geospatial datasets can provide an excellent source of land use information and can detect land use change events at both national and regional scales. The rule-based land use and soil inventory coupled with the soil cluster approach developed in this work could be implemented in current national land use mapping activities to enhance our ability to assess the impacts of land use and land use change on soil carbon stocks.

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Research 421: Assessment of the Extent and Impact of Barriers on Freshwater Hydromorphology and Connectivity in Ireland (Reconnect)

Authors: Mary Kelly-Quinn, Michael Bruen, Jonathan N. Turner, John O’Sullivan, Jens Carlsson, Craig Bullock, Siobhan Atkinson and Colm M. Casserly, September 2022

Year: 2022

The Reconnect project advanced knowledge on the impact of low-head barriers on connectivity in Irish rivers in terms of sediment dynamics and ecology (fish, macroinvertebrates and macrophytes) through studies undertaken from 2016 to 2020 in four core study areas on the Duag, Dalligan and Burren rivers and Browns Beck Brook and at 35 other locations across 12 river/stream systems. The project also developed a methodology for prioritising barriers for modification or removal to improve hydromorphology and connectivity.

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Research 420: Pollen Monitoring and Modelling (POMMEL)

Authors: David O’Connor, Emma Markey, Jose Maria Maya-Manzano, Paul Dowding, Aoife Donnelly and John Sodeau, August 2022

Year: 2022

A reliable pollen forecast and monitoring system is a valuable tool to help allergy sufferers avoid unnecessary exposure to allergenic pollen and to optimise drug treatments by allergists. Ireland does not have a monitoring system in place and the forecast currently used is provided by the University of Worcester (UK). This project seeks to address this by undertaking the required monitoring and developing a forecast model.

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Research 419: Enhancing Integration of Disaster Risk and Climate Change Adaptation into Irish Emergency Planning

Authors: Peter Medway, Dug Cubie and Martin Le Tissier, August 2022

Year: 2022

Climate research tells us that extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe. Climate change adaptation (CCA) focuses on the probable chronic long-term impacts likely to occur across multiple sectors. In contrast, emergency planning and disaster risk reduction (DRR) primarily aims to address acute short-term impacts. The project identifies how existing approaches to disaster risk reduction, disaster risk management (DRM) and CCA in Ireland are juxtaposed and concludes that identifying ways to promote coordination and align incentives, priorities and planning processes will facilitate a more holistic and comprehensive approach to DRM at all levels of government.

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Research 418: Built Environment Climate Resilience and Adaptation

Authors: Mark Scott, Louise Burns, Mick Lennon and Oliver Kinnane, August 2022

Year: 2022

Climate change risks present a clear challenge for Ireland’s built environment. Adaptation is the critical second pillar of climate action alongside mitigation. This needs an urgent whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. There is significant scope for increasing policy coherency towards adaptation through the planning system, building control, building regulation performance requirements, industry standards and building design specifications.

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Research 417: Assessment of the Environmental and Health Impacts Arising from Mercury-free Dental Restorative Materials

Authors: Máiréad Harding, Timothy Sullivan, Hannah Binner, Naghmeh Kamali and Martina Hayes, July 2022

Year: 2022

The United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international regulatory framework that aims to protect human health and the global environment from the harmful effects of mercury. This research identified that very little literature exists on the environmental and health impacts of mercury-free dental restorative materials. It identified small particles from the mercury-free dental restorative materials in dental wastewater (DWW) and says it is essential to consider enhanced capture of small particles from DWW as a priority.

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Research 416: Development and Application of Monte Carlo Models for High-purity Germanium Gamma Spectrometry

Authors: Luis León Vintró and Niall Murphy, July 2022

Year: 2022

The aim of this research project was to develop and implement suitable Monte Carlo calibration methods for the assay of natural and artificial radionuclides using HPGe gamma spectrometers. A software application was developed as part of this project. The application makes use of a set of nominal input parameters describing an HPGe detector, together with experimentally determined full-energy peak efficiencies for a range of radionuclides in a variety of counting geometries, to produce an optimised model of the detector by applying suitable optimisation algorithms without any further user intervention.

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Research 415: A Roadmap for Local Deliberative Engagements on Transitions to Net Zero Carbon and Climate Resilience

Authors: Gerard Mullally, Alexandra Revez, Clodagh Harris, Niall Dunphy, Fionn Rogan, Edmond Byrne, Connor McGookin, Brian Ó Gallachóir, Paul Bolger, Barry O’Dwyer, Stephen Flood, Evan Boyle, James Glynn, John Barry and Geraint Ellis , July 2022

Year: 2022

Ireland faces considerable challenges in transitioning to a net-zero carbon and climate resilient future. This research focused on the challenge of engaging citizens and communities in climate action while also recognising that new and novel approaches are required to enable the transition to climate resilience. The co-creation of the Deliberative Futures Toolkit together with local, scientific and policy communities, provides a resource that can be used by communities and policymakers.

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Research 414: Managing Invasive Alien Plants in Ireland

Authors: Vasiliki Balogianni, Bruce Osborne, Margherita Gioria and Dario Fornara, July 2022

Year: 2022

The presence of invasive alien plant species across Ireland and Europe has increased significantly in the past few decades. The impacts of these invasions vary but they can lead to major modifications in ecosystem functioning. This research project has broadened our understanding of the ecological traits, strategies and impacts of invasive species. This information can be used in the management of invasive plants and help to inform legislation that might need to be introduced or strengthened.

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Research 413: The Diversity and Resilience of Kelp Ecosystems in Ireland

Authors: Kathryn Schoenrock, Stacy Krueger-Hadfield, Kenan Chan, Rory O’Callaghan, Tony O’Callaghan, Aaron Golden and Anne Marie Power, July 2022

Year: 2022

In Ireland, Kelp forests can be found along rocky shorelines and dominates rocky substrata along the Irish coastline (approximately 3010 km out of the 7524 km of national shoreline). The report makes recommendations concerning monitoring and preserving kelp ecosystems nationwide. A range of resilience metrics was assessed for subtidal kelp forests in Ireland to better understand how to monitor, manage and simply understand these systems and their potential responses to climate shifts in nearshore ecosystems.

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Research 412: Emissions from and Fuel Consumption Associated with Off-road Vehicles and Other Machinery

Authors: Rita Hagan, Emma Markey, Jerry Clancy, Mark Keating, Aoife Donnelly, David O’Connor, Liam Morrison and Eoin McGillicuddy, July 2022

Year: 2022

Non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) is a large category that until recently had not been widely researched in terms of its contribution of exhaust emissions to overall air pollution. The emissions from NRMM contribute significantly to air pollution. To lower emissions from NRMM and improve air quality, it is recommended that more data are collected from sectors such as rail, construction, and aviation, and from Transport Infrastructure Ireland. This research used the bottom-up approach of contacting NRMM owners and data holders to request data about their NRMM fleet and its fuel use.

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Evidence Synthesis Report 1: A Signpost for Soil Policy in Ireland

Authors: Maria McNamara, Hannah Binner, Eric Hynes and Luisa Andrade, June 2022

Year: 2022

This study aimed to generate an accessible evidence base to support the development of new policy on soil and to enable Ireland to meet its commitments to both national and EU soil strategies.

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Research 411: Innovative Valorisation of Dairy Processing Wastewater Using a Circular Economy Approach (Newtrients)

Authors: Éamonn Walsh, Lekha Margassery, Neil Coughlan, Roisin Broughton, Holger Kühnhold, Arno Fricke, Gavin Burnell, Maria O’Mahoney, David Wall, Paul Bolger, Niall O’Leary and Marcel A.K. Jansen, June 2022

Year: 2022

There are pressing economic and environmental concerns regarding the imbalance between resource consumption and regeneration. This research successfully demonstrated a paradigm shift in how wastewater is treated by developing a pioneering cascading system for valorisation of dairy wastewater, based on circular economy principles. It successfully developed an integrated system coupling microbial-based technologies of anaerobic digestion and aerobic dynamic feeding with duckweed cultivation.

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Research 410: Food Loss and Waste from Farming, Fishing and Aquaculture in Ireland

Authors: Jennifer Attard and Tracey O’Connor, June 2022

Year: 2022

Food waste in Ireland has been estimated at 1.1 million tonnes per year, but this excluded farming, fishing and aquaculture (i.e. primary production), as there were no data on these sectors. This research has quantified and understood food waste in primary production and is a starting point in identifying areas that need addressing. The project has compiled various options for solutions available to tackle the specific food waste issues occurring in Ireland.

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Research 409: Co-designing for Resilience in Rural Development through Peer-to-peer Learning Networks and STEAM Place-based Learning Interventions

Authors: Anita McKeown, Lucy Hunt, James Murphy, Eleanor Turner and Rebecca White, May 2022

Year: 2022

The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development require governments to take ownership and establish frameworks for the achievement of the 17 global goals. Ireland has mapped existing policies and programmes against each of the 169 SDG sub targets, setting out a roadmap for achieving the goals. CoDesRes developed and explored a series of proof-of-concept methods and from this created two toolkits. As interventions, the toolkits (community peer-to-peer learning and place-based STEAM education) localise the implementation of the SDGs and offer insights into adaptive opportunities to engage the public.

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Research 408: Sustainable Production and Consumption: The Influence of Social Norms

Authors: Gideon Fadiran and Stephen Onakuse, May 2022

Year: 2022

Consumer behaviour represents acts or decisions that influence the direction of production and consumption activities, which are, in turn, driven by household and, ultimately, economic activities. This research investigated the linkages between habits and norms that drive behavioural attitudes and preferences, and how consumers’ socio-economic background, community, beliefs, etc. are identified as the driving factors of consumer behaviour and waste patterns.

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Research 407: Residential Solid Fuel Use in Ireland and the Transition Away from Solid Fuels

Authors: John Eakins, Bernadette Power, Niall Dunphy and Gordon Sirr, April 2022

Year: 2022

The EPA has highlighted air quality issues in urban centres in Ireland in recent years. Emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), attributable to the burning of solid fuels, such as coal, peat and wood, are a particular cause of concern. This research project aims to provide a deeper understanding of the sector using existing and new sources of data on solid fuel use. The development of a new data set based on a survey of household heating and fuel use will be the primary contribution.

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Research 406: Sharing Lessons Learned from Water Governance

Authors: Joanna O’Riordan, Richard Boyle, John O’Neill, Fergal O’Leary and Laura Shannon, March 2022

Year: 2022

Clean, healthy water is essential for our economy, our aquatic wildlife and our health and wellbeing. However, as noted in the draft third-cycle River Basin Management Plan (Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, 2021), there are mounting environmental pressures on Ireland’s waters with the situation described as ‘’urgent’’. The objective of this research was to review changes in structures and processes made under the second-cycle River Basin Management Plan, 2018–2021, to inform thinking regarding the third-cycle River Basin Management Plan, 2022–2027.

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Research 405: Qualifying and Quantifying the Reuse Sector in Ireland

Authors: Colum Gibson, Keelin Tobin, Claire Downey, Sarah Miller, Laura Niessen, Roberta Bellini and Tadhg Coakley, March 2022

Year: 2022

Recent EU legislation aims to strengthen reuse in all Member States and asks Member States to measure reuse, with the option of setting national targets in the future. By gathering information on the scale and size of the reuse sector in Ireland, we can benchmark and compare our reuse sector against others. This study assessed the capability of the Irish reuse sector to supply the data necessary for quantifying the extent of reuse in Ireland and informing Irish policymakers on the steps required to support the sector to report in the future.

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