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1 Jun, 2017 2 min read

Future Analytics Consulting presents at event on National Land Cover and Habitat Mapping


In 2016 FAC, in collaboration with Optimize Economic Consultants, Dr. Michael Brennan and Mary Tubridy & Associates, prepared a Use Case and Economic Value Study in support of the proposed National Land Cover and Habitat Mapping (NLCHM) programme.


The report was presented by Dr. William Hynes to interested stakeholders at a National Land Cover and Habitat Mapping event held on Tuesday 30th May at the National Botanical Gardens in Dublin.


Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe that does not have a dedicated programme for mapping the national landcover or habitats. This is a major data gap for Ireland and means we have insufficient data to allow for the effective monitoring, assessment and management of our environment.


The absence of such a programme limits our ability to plan for and mitigate against pollution, flooding events and climate change. Without detailed data our ability to provide for sustainable development, to conserve the natural landscape, and to advance our knowledge of scientifically important habitats and areas of high biodiversity is significantly restricted.


Over recent years’ a cross-agency working group has been working to establish a national mapping programme to address these issues. This working group members are the Heritage Council, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and the Gaeltacht Affairs  (DAHRRG), Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi), Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM,) Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (DHPCLG), and Teagasc.


Acting on behalf of the working group, the Heritage Council commissioned FAC and the wider project team to undertake the use case and economy study to demonstrate the advantages of a national LCHM programme. The study involved the following elements:


    • • A review of current international and European approaches taken for the data collation and mapping of land cover and habitats on a national scale;


    • • Identification of opportunities for the national LCHM programme to support the delivery of commitments arising from European and national legislative;


    • • A description of cross sectoral applications for a national LCHM product with a focus on selected areas including agriculture, forestry, flood risk, land use planning, air quality, climate change and biodiversity;


    • • Establishment of the economic value of a national LCHM programme and the benefits arising in terms of greater precision, better analysis, reduced overlap and knowledge sharing efficiencies;


    • • Identification of risks associated with maintaining the status quo i.e. the absence of a national LCHM programme is also outlined; and,


    • • The formulation of recommendations to advance the case for a national LCHM programme.


The final report concludes with a strong endorsement for a programme. It identifies that there would be a strong return on any investment given the efficiency and productivity gains that will arise, and the benefits for policy implementation, policy targeting, and sustainability. To learn more about FAC’s applied research projects, please explore our project files available on our website: http://futureanalytics.ieprojects/ or to download a copy of the report, please go to http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/publications or click here.


FAC is a leading Chartered Town Planning, Development and Socio-economic Analytics Consultancy based in Dublin with an extensive project portfolio throughout Ireland. FAC has extensive experience in town and village renewal, town and village health checks, and settlement profiling.