Write a short paragraph on any geological heritage.
This report ensures Waterford is active at the forefront of geological heritage
within Ireland, as it is only the eighth county to commission such an audit
within the scope of the county based Heritage Plan. It will hopefully encourage
other local authorities to follow what is now a tried and trusted methodology.
In the absence of significant political and economic resources available to the
relevant bodies for geological heritage conservation as Natural Heritage
Areas (NHA) at a national level, it represents a significant level of progress in
defining and safeguarding Ireland’s geological heritage.
It also represents a significant commitment on the part of the Local Authority
to fulfil its obligations to incorporate geology into the spectrum of
responsibilities under the Heritage Act 1995, the Planning and Development
Act 2000, Planning and Development Regulations 2001, and the Wildlife
(Amendment) Act, 2000 and the National Heritage Plan (2002). The
Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) views partnerships with the local
authorities, exemplified by this report, as a very important element of its
strategy on geological heritage (see Appendix 8).
The Irish Geological Heritage Programme (IGH) in the Geological Survey of
Ireland complements other nature conservation efforts of the last decade, by
assessing Ireland’s geodiversity, which is the foundation of the biodiversity
addressed under European Directives on habitats and species by the
designations of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and more recently on a
national scale by the introduction of Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) as the
national nature conservation method. As a targeted conservation measure to
protect the very best of Irish geology and geomorphology it fills a void which
has been there since the abandonment of the Areas of Scientific Interest
scheme, listed by An Foras Forbartha in 1981.
The IGH Programme does this by identifying and selecting the most important
geological sites nationally for designation as NHAs. It looks at the whole of
Irish geology and geomorphology under 16 different themes. A fundamental
approach is that only the minimum number of sites necessary to demonstrate
the particular geological theme is selected. This means that our first criterion
is to identify the best national representative example of each feature or major
sequence, and secondly any unique or exceptional sites. The third criterion, of
any sites of International importance, is nearly always covered by the other
Designation of geological NHAs is by the GSI’s partners in the Programme,
the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) currently operating within the
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Once designated any
geological NHAs will be subject to normal statutory process within the
Waterford Planning Department and other relevant divisions. However,
management issues for geological sites are generally less, and
somewhat different from many ecological designations. The following
section considers these issues.