Background to the Environmental Assessments
In accordance with the SEA Directive 2001/42/EC, and the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC (transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004 to 2011 (SI No. 435 of 2004 and SI No. 200 of 2011) and the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (SI No. 477 of 2011) respectively), the Department screened the draft National Broadband Intervention Strategy for the need to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and an Appropriate Assessment (AA).
In order to carry out this screening, the Department commissioned independent consultants to produce a Screening Report in 2015. The Department issued relevant notices under Article 9(5) of SI No. 435 of 2004 (as amended) to the prescribed environmental authorities. The Department received two responses to this consultation, from:
Having regard to the findings of the Screening Report and the responses received to the consultation, the Department completed the screening process for both SEA and AA and made the following determinations:
As both a Strategic Environmental Assessment and an Appropriate Assessment were deemed necessary, the Department procured environmental expertise and after a formal procurement process RPS Group were appointed.
In 2016 the Department ran a public consultation on the National Broadband Plan - Intervention Strategy: Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report prepared by RPS. This consultation closed at 5pm on Friday 20th May 2016 - for further information, click the above link.
Strategic Environmental Assessment/ Appropriate Assessment
Following the Screening and scoping processes and in accordance with European and national law, the Department undertook a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the National Broadband Plan – Intervention Strategy. A public consultation closed on 9 February 2018.
The Department also took the opportunity to consult on the High Speed Broadband Map.
Following the consultation the Department updated the Intervention Strategy by way of an Addendum document ensure that environmental concerns are integrated and addressed accordingly.
All relevant documents can be found below.
A link to the Consultation, the relevant documents and the submissions received is here