Member State report / Art11 / 2020 / D11 / Ireland / NE Atlantic: Celtic Seas

Report type Member State report to Commission
MSFD Article Art. 11 Monitoring programmes (and Art. 17 updates)
Report due 2020-10-15
GES Descriptor D11 Energy, incl. underwater noise
Member State Ireland
Region/subregion NE Atlantic: Celtic Seas
Reported by Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Report date 2021-12-08
Report access

Monitoring strategy description
Ireland has one programme to monitor and assess Criterion D11C1 for impulsive noise; the OSPAR Impulsive Noise Registry. This adheres to OSPAR and EC guidance on impulsive noise. Ireland has reported seismic activity data from the years 2016 through to 2019 to this registry. Impulsive noise generated from potential future pile driving activities will be reported to this registry, as the Irish offshore renewable sector progresses; this data will be captured through existing foreshore regulatory regimes. The information collected in this programme allows us to assess inputs of underwater noise into the marine environment from human activities, in the form of ‘Number of Bang Days’. Following the recent MSFD Article 17 Assessment, Criterion D11C1 impulsive noise, was determined to be in GES for Irish Marine waters. D11C2 continuous noise was not assessed as work is still ongoing at OSPAR and EU level to develop methodologies for the assessment of continuous underwater noise.
Coverage of GES criteria
Adequate monitoring was in place by 2018
Gaps and plans
Gaps identified: The key knowledge gap is understanding the levels of anthropogenic underwater noise that can lead to effects at the population level and ecosystem scales. Particularly how to quantify the risk of impact at these scales for vulnerable/threatened species and key functional groups. Risks to populations need to be more clearly established in order to develop proportionate measures. These knowledge gaps need to be addressed before the impacts of impulsive underwater noise in Irish marine waters can be categorically assessed. Gap Plans: progress towards addressing knowledge gaps includes co-operating with other Contracting Parties in OSPAR to develop a comprehensive procedure for the assessment of both impulsive and continuous underwater noise in all OSPAR regions. Including participation in the RAGES, JONAS and SATURN projects.
Related targets
  • D11T1
Coverage of targets
Adequate monitoring was in place by 2018
Related measures
  • ACSIE-M013 - 'Continue to implement Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (85/337/EEC) in order to identify, minimise and mitigate potential adverse environmental impacts.'
  • ACSIE-M014 - 'Continue to implement the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (2001/42/EC) in order to identify, minimise and mitigate potential adverse environmental impacts.'
  • ACSIE-M015 - 'Awareness and training of best practices in maritime and coastal activities and preservation of the marine environment.'
  • ACSIE-M033 - 'To apply guidance in place for carrying out activities (e.g. pile driving, seismic survey) in Irish marine waters which have the potential to kill, injure or disturb a marine European species (i.e. any cetacean or bird species).'
  • ACSIE-M035 - 'Continue to implement Ireland´s Cetacean Conservation Plan.'
  • ACSIE-M066 - 'Apply Environmental Liability Directive (2004/35/EC) as appropriate.'
  • ACSIE-M067 - 'Implementation of Directive 2013/30/EU on safety of offshore oil and gas operations within Irish Legislation. This ensures protection of the marine environment through implementation of safety measures/mechanisms for offshore oil and gas operations. This includes, inter alia, as per Article 8 of Directive 2013/30/EU, the appointment of the Commission of Energy Regulation (CER) as the competent authority responsible for regulatory functions in this regard.'
  • ACSIE-M124 - 'Continue to implement national legislation to appropriately apply licensing, regulation and planning for the marine and coastal environment, including the requirement for applications to be accompanied by the materials necessary for a full assessment of the proposed plan, project or development.'
  • ACSIE-M125 - 'Ensure that appropriate forms and levels of organisational governance are in place to support Foreshore Licensing, Petroleum Exploration/Appraisal/ Production Licensing, and proposed Maritime Option Licensing process.'
  • ACSIE-M126 - 'Ensure that the consenting/ permitting processes, overseen by relevant regulatory bodies/statutory bodies, sufficiently account for the adequate protection of habitats and species.'
  • ACSIE-M128 - 'To apply the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and associated legislation in relation to licences and consents.'
  • ACSIE-M129 - 'Continue to develop and implement river basin and shoreline management plans to control impacts and improve environmental status.'
  • ACSIE-M130 - 'Develop and implement marine plans for all of Irish waters by 31st March 2021 at the latest.'
  • ACSIE-M133 - 'Ensure that environmental monitoring and mitigation measures stipulated in Environmental Impact Statements are fit for purpose and when/where deemed necessary are conducted appropriately.'
Coverage of measures
Adequate monitoring was in place by 2018
Related monitoring programmes
  • ACS-IE-D11-01
Programme code
Programme name
Impulsive Noise Registry
Update type
Modified from 2014
Old programme codes
  • ACS-IE-D11-01
Programme description
The ICES hosted Impulsive Noise Register has been established to support OSPAR contracting parties; the portal assembles data collated nationally from registers of licenced events such as airgun arrays, pile driving, controlled explosions from naval operations and other activities that release energy. This registry is specifically purposed with supporting OSPAR (and HELCOM) in providing information that will feed regional assessments, and in reporting by its contracting parties to MSFD descriptor 11.
Monitoring purpose
  • Human activities causing the pressures
  • Pressures in the marine environment
Other policies and conventions
  • Birds Directive
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (2011/92/EU)
  • Habitats Directive
  • Maritime Spatial Planning Directive
Regional cooperation - coordinating body
Regional cooperation - countries involved
Regional cooperation - implementation level
Coordinated data collection
Monitoring details
Temporal and Spacial data from 2D and 3D Seismic Surveys, carried out under licence of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, are reported under OSPAR Impulsive Underwater Noise Annual Data calls.
Impulsive sound in water
  • Not Applicable
GES criteria
  • Other
Parameter Other
Number of Bang Days
Spatial scope
  • EEZ (or similar)
Marine reporting units
  • ACS-IE-AA-001
Temporal scope (start date - end date)
Monitoring frequency
Monitoring type
  • Administrative data collection
Monitoring method
  • Guidance on monitoring impulsive underwater noise
Monitoring method other
Quality control
ICES provides a Web Service Description Language (WSDL) document that fully describes the ICES Data Portal Web Service including Quality Control details.
Data management
Data held nationally in Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and also in ICES database.
Data access
Related indicator/name
Mary Hegarty
Nathan D. Merchant, Mathias H. Andersson, Tetrienne Box, Florent Le Courtois, Dónal Cronin, Neil Holdsworth, Niels Kinneging, Sónia Mendes, Thomas Merck, John Mouat, Alain M.J. Norro, Benjamin Ollivier, Carlos Pinto, Philip Stamp, Jakob Tougaard. Impulsive noise pollution in the Northeast Atlantic: Reported activity during 2015–2017, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 152, 2020