Environmental Data Analytics for Planning Policy
In 2016, FT was appointed to produce a Wind Energy Strategy for Tipperary County Council.
The purpose of the strategy is to guide future assessment of the wind energy planning in the county and to provide technical guidance for policies and objectives of the Tipperary County Development Plan.
One of the many challenges in this project was the necessity to unify existing North and South Tipperary strategies in approaches to methodology. Preparing the strategy involved harmonizing data sources ranging from landscape, existing infrastructure, heritage, topography, geology, soils, hydrology, bio-diversity and accessibility together with considerations of proximity and significance of sensitive receptors including residences, tourism assets, habitats and cultural heritage.
The strategy was not a static examination of existing individual items, instead it had to consider the evolving role of wind energy in contributing to decarbonisation of the county and local initiatives to halt climate change. To assist a variety of what-if scenarios were modelled and the relationship to of the existing Landscape Character Assessments (LCAs) for Tipperary was undertaken concurrently to assess the capacity of the landscape to accommodate wind energy development. This permitted deeper investigation challenges, constraints and opportunities of future wind energy developments and facilitated consultation internally with the county council and with external stakeholders and local interested parties.
Fehily Timoney’s GIS and analytical tools were central to the presentation of options scenarios and input of feedback from the consultation phases of the project.
From the analytical exercise a vision that supports and promotes the development of wind energy development in a balanced and sustainable manner has been developed. Importantly, the use of well managed environmental data bases permitted the efficient preparation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the plan and their easy incorporation of these statutory procedures to assist formal adoption of the strategy.