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Donegal County Council & University of Ulster

Lough Swilly Report

Action 2.3
Drivers & Issues of climate change in Lough Swilly

Workshop 26 March 2009

IMCORE Work Package 2
Workshop 2.3 Drivers and Issues of Climate Change in Lough Swilly

Expert Couple Node:

Donegal County Council (Jessica Hodgson)
University of Ulster (John McKenna & Marianne O’Connor)

The workshop was attended by Donegal County Council staff from the following Divisions:
Water & Environment: County Laboratory (Water Framework Directive)
Roads: Marine Engineering
Planning and Economic Development: Central Planning Unit and Planning Enforcement
Community and Enterprise: Tourism Development and Marine & Water Leisure

Discussion included issues & drivers specific to climate change in Lough Swilly, the outcomes
of which can be seen in Appendix 1. The workshop was also used as an opportunity to
introduce the IMCORE project to staff and to discuss local action 1.1 (Marine Spatial

General discussion and conclusions regarding Marine Spatial Planning and adaptation to
climate change:

o Internal structure; layering of all strategies and policy needed.

o Need top down approach within DCC to give strategies better status.

o Better internal organisation and integration sharing of data and expertise required

o Planning is a key element.

o Accessibility to information in a timely manner very important for investors i.e. before
they spend excessive amounts of money in an area where planning permission will
never be given.

o River Basin management tools, Regulatory tools developed by Marine Institute

should be used by DCC and all coastal managers

o The County Development Plan is the only spatial related document developed by the
council – MSP should be integrated into this

o Planning & Economic Development agreeable to become involved in the IMCORE


o Tony McNally Co-ordinator of WFD also agreeable to involvement – considerable

overlap and complementarities.

o The area for the Marine Spatial Plan needs definition; care should be taken not too
include too big an area at the pilot stage. IMCORE should determine how a Marine
Spatial Plan is developed and then the process can be applied elsewhere.

o The Planning Act allows Local Authorities to have non statutory plans as Policy –
giving them a better status/power.
Further information regarding the workshop agenda and context can be seen in

Appendix 2: Letter of Invitation to workshop

Appendix 3: Agenda for workshop
Appendix 4: Workshop Presentation

Jessica Hodgson
Project Manager
31 March 2009

Appendix 1
Results of issues workshop
IMCORE WP 2.3 Donegal County Council Lough Swilly: Driver and Issue Identification Workshop


Development of County
Development Plan/Local River Basin
Storms/ Storm Sea Harbour/infrastructure Marine Leisure Area Plans/Forward Management
Timeframe In General Drainage Defences/Erosion Developments Investment Flooding Pollution Building Design planning Plans Biodiversity Tourism

yes, investors wasting yes, low lying roads,

money doing preparatory and coastal areas
work for proposals in around the lough, yes, size of problem needs to yes, tourism industry relies on
yes, safety access for rescue desiganted areas or broken be determined also need to yes areas such as Inch and sustainable management of the coast
boat difficult at Buncrana pier areas at risk of flooding embankments, think in terms of 50 -60 years the numerous SAC's SPA's and resource. Also need to manage
due to siltation caused by /erosion when they have private property yes, caused by flooding of low lying with the normal 3-6 year yes, should work in Lough Swilly underthreat pressure on environment with increasing
yes under public pressure to use bridge/marina development at no chance of attaining flooding in storm areas e.g. inch island SAC below sea planning cycle encompassed closely with this from pollution, flooding and tourism - need for environmental
Short-term yes hard engineering approaches Inch and Fahan statutory permissions. conditions level vs septic tanks in the area. with this long term plan initiative inappropriate use. sustainablility
yes should work
Management and maintenance closely with this
Medium-term yes of piers yes, as above yes, as above yes, as above yes, as above initiative yes, as above yes, as above

Need to think long term for

planning design e.g. design of yes should work
floor level to account for closely with this
Long-term yes yes yes as above yes, as above yes, as above yes, as above increased risk of flooding. yes, as above initiative yes, as above yes, as above

Development of County
Development Plan/Local River Basin
Equipped to deal Storms/ Storm Sea Harbour/infrastructure Marine Leisure Area Plans/Forward Management
with impacts? In General Drainage Defences/Erosion Developments Investment Flooding Pollution Building Design planning Plans Biodiversity Tourism

Need more proative

approach and Tourism relies on the scenery, clean
forward planning to environment, managed facilities etc.
ensure planning Industry itself not equipped to deal with
Need to look at the permission is not infrastructural climate change impacts
cumulative affects given in areas of e.g. roads on west coast (Ramelton -
rather than Information is available risk. Tools such as Cumulitive impacts of one off housing Difficult to break Rathmullan)of L. Swilly at risk of flooding;
development by Need long term policy backing (what Information was probably there but there is a lack of the Regulatory tools not being assessed e.g. numerous septic Very little consideration given them down to a heavily reliant on
development to use where and when) also need but was not easily accessed by integrated guidence for developed by MI tanks in an area at risk of flooding to Climate change at this local level such as engineering/environmental services and
Poor assessment DCC policy for soft engineering planners developers could be used. adjacent to SAC/SPA at Inch island level. L. Swilly management.

Increased temperatures will increase

visitor numbers and in turn will increase
A lot of theoretical the impact visitors have on the
background but little or environment- e.g. dune management,
no practical appliaction beach access, basic beach services,
on a day to day basis e.g. WFD and Irish Marine Institute have toilets etc, litter, conflicting activities,
for planning assessment developed tools - a regulatory tool to staffing for extended season. Traffic
due to lack of filtration of determine the impact and management and access to busy beach
extrtise and data within morphological significance of areas such as Lisfannon, Portsalon and
Medium the council impacts and thersholds Rathmullan

DCC have all the information but overlap with
it is not used or shared properly IMCORE and
resulting in a disjointed complementary
approach to development and Designs will take on a new research,
management. form having car parking etc on expertise, and
the lower levels and regulatory tools
Costs of raising a pier not accommodation at higher have been
Good onerous levels. developed.

Changes to council structure; there is a lack of coordination between divisions, a lot of information knowledge and expertise within the council which is not being used or shared. Certain issues need to be addressed from the top down rather than from the bottom up in order to have power. Structure needs to accommodate/encourage data sharing and education. Current structure leads to
a lack of filtaration of data throughout the Council.
No local or county wide policy
Resources: loss of specialist skills from DCC staff (Very little response to Climate Change in DCC)
Political buy in & understanding: elected members need to be better informed and recognise the significance of climate hcange - need to look beyond their time in office.
Education of the wider public to increase an understanding of Climate Change and the necessary management of the coastline.

Appendix 2
Letter of Invitation to workshop

Donegal Marine & Water leisure Programme

Donegal County Council
Tel: 00353 74 9724475
Fax: 00353 74 9740376


Date: 23 February 2009

Re: IMCORE workshop – Issues & Drivers of Climate Change

Over the past two years the EU Commission has been leading a major debate on the need for a new
approach to maritime/coastal use and management in the face of climate change and pressure on the
resource globally.

The EU Commission communication October 2007 on development of Integrated Maritime Policy

invites member states to develop coordinated coastal planning using specific tools e.g. Maritime Spatial
Planning & Integrated Coastal Zone Management (MSP/ ICZM). In June 2008 a Marine Strategy
Framework Directive was published by the EU Commission: Member States are (among other things)
required to achieve good environmental status by 2020, address all human activity impacting on the
marine environment using the eco-system approach, develop strategies for marine waters, and develop
frameworks to inform policy making. The communications stress the economic and social importance of
the EU coastal zone including tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, commercial usage and environmental

In the context of these changes in EU Policy/ Legislation, Donegal County Council, working with the
University of Ulster, has become a partner in an Interreg IVB North West Europe project called
“IMCORE” (Innovative Management of Europe’s Changing Coastal Resource). The project aims to
develop tools/skills to inform:
1. decisions made by managers of the coastal/marine environment;
2. development of adaptive management strategies and
3. coastal/marine policy.

Lough Swilly is the case study area for the project; one of nine case study areas in NW Europe
contributing to the research.

In order to gain a full perspective of the issues your section faces in relation to the changing coastal
resource you are cordially invited to participate in a workshop to discuss:
“The issues and drivers of coastal climate change - Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal”.

The workshop will be held in the Committee Room, County House, Lifford
on the 26 of March at 10am

I would be grateful if you could contact me as soon as possible at or

074 9724475 to confirm attendance. I look forward to seeing you there.

Yours sincerely,

Jessica Hodgson
Project Manager

Appendix 3
Agenda for workshop

Donegal Marine & Water leisure Programme

Donegal County Council
Tel: 00353 74 9724475
Fax: 00353 74 9740376

“The issues and drivers of coastal climate change - Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal”.

The workshop will be held in the Committee Room, County House,

Lifford on the 26th of March, 10am – 12pm

10.00: Introduction to IMCORE – DCC & UU involvement

10.15: Presentation on Drivers and Issues of Climate Change by

University of Ulster

10.30: Discussion on the nature and levels of risk/impacts specific to

Lough Swilly focusing on each participant’s area of responsibility.

12.00: End

Appendix 4
Workshop Presentation


Innovative Management
of Europe’s Changing
Coastal Resource

Workshop Format
The IMCORE Project
(5 minutes)

Drivers and Issues

Associated with Climate Change
(10 minutes)

Discussion: Nature and level of

risks and impacts in Lough Swilly

How do you see climate change affecting your area of responsibility?


F unding S ecured
• Interreg IVB  NWE  programme 
• F unding over 3 years  to fund a P roject Manager
• D C C  & B uncrana T C  working locally in partners hip 
with the Univers ity of Uls ter

• L ough S willy agreed as  P ilot S ite

3 main areas  for development :
1. C limate C hange R es earch (local to E U level)
2. P ilot S tudy (Marine S patial P lanning) 
3. Marine D is covery C entre in B uncrana

B ac kg round: C hang es  in E U P olic y & 

L eg is lation
• J une 06:  E U C ommis s ion G reen P aper
– “T owards  a F uture Maritime P olicy for the Union: A E uropean 
Vis ion for the O ceans  and S eas ”
• May 07: Iris h R es pons e to E U P aper
– Ireland would welcome a new regulatory framework for our s eas
• O c t 07:  E U C ommis s ion C ommunic ation
– “An Integrated Maritime P olicy for the E uropean Union”
• O c t 07:  E U C ommis s ion C ommunic ation on T ouris m
• Mar 08:  E U C ommis s ion res truc tured its  fis heries  and 
maritime  affairs  department as  DG  MAR E  (formerly DG  
• J une 08:  “MAR INE  S T R AT E G Y  F R AME WO R K  DIR E C T IVE ”
» P ublis hed by E U C ommis s ion
– “E c o‐s ys tem” approac h to adminis tration 
and management

1. Climate Change Research

• P os s ible impacts  on L . S willy

• P os s ible future s cenarios  of thes e impacts
• F orward planning ‐ develop decis ion 
making tools  & techniques
• D evelop res pons es  / s olutions  to the 
impacts  identified
• E merging management s trategy –
C apacity to adapt?

2. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)

•Work with all stakeholders

3. Marine Discovery Centre Buncrana

• P roject Manager to work with  B uncrana 
T own C ouncil
– S ite
– D es ign
– P lanning & fores hore permis s ion
– O peration & management
– F unding
– C ons truct building / commis s ion ves s el

Purpose of Marine Discovery Centre

A. F ocus  for R es earch / S takeholder F orum/ D ata 
repos itory/ R es earch L inks  to key organis ations

B . C oas tal E ducation C entre/S chools  P rogramme

C . V is itor Attraction

D . B oat T ours  of L ough S willy


4. Lough Swilly: the Book

Part 1 The Natural Environment:

Waters of Lough Swilly
Natural habitats and conservation

Part 2 People and the Lough

Archaeology and cultural heritage

Settlement and infrastructure
Tourism and recreation

We will seek an author/s for each section and have photographs taken
Timescale: publication end 2009/early 2010

Climate Change
Temperature: Air and sea surface temperatures have been rising at
0.2-0.6oC per decade

Seven of the ten warmest years on record have occurred in last decade

Storms and waves: a greater incidence of severe winds and larger

wave heights has been observed in western waters

Sea Level: global rise of about 3mm/year

Higher frequency of extreme water levels and flooding due to sea level rise
An increase in the extent and rates of coastal erosion

Ocean acidification: the ocean is becoming more acidic


Sea Level

Projected NI Relative Sea Level Rise



UKCIP 2006
0.600 BUA


UKCIP 2006

2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100

Surge elevation

Maximum surge elevation at Malin Head


Climate Change
Ecosystem impacts
Plankton: Changes in species, biomass and production

Fish: increase in warm water species and decline in cold water species
Poor recruitment of cod
Low growth rates of some commercial species

Marine Mammals: Range shifts in some cetaceans

Seabirds: Poor breeding success

Non-natives: Spreading due to warming waters

Intertidal species: Warm water species extending northwards

Seabed ecology: Changes affect food availability for demersal fish

Coastal Habitats: Changing and being lost through squeeze

Climate Change
Clean and safe seas

Flooding: increased flood risk

Nutrients: dryer summers might decrease nutrient inputs

Harmful algal blooms: have increased over past 50 years due to


Pollution: possible increase in storm water


Climate Change
Commercially Productive seas

Shipping: risks from flooding and physical damage to ports

Increased storminess could affect shipping

Tourism: longer tourist season and increased visitor numbers

Built structures: allowances for sea level rise in design of structures

Increased damage to structures due to sea level rise and erosion

Fisheries: shifts in fish populations may impact viability of stocks

Aquaculture: ocean acidification impact on shellfish production

Rising temperature could increase growth rates
New species potential
Increased jellyfish and HAB may cause fish kills

Climate Change

Climate change Responses Impacts Implications


Identify sectors (e.g. infrastructure, aquaculture, fisheries, etc) that

might be impacted on Lough Swilly

For each sector describe anticipated impacts

How well equipped are we to deal with these impacts?


What are constraints on dealing with future changes?

(e.g. funding, staff, training etc)