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Iarnród Éireann Publish New Biodiversity Guidelines

Iarnród Éireann has published a new document of guidelines, to ensure the protection of biodiversity along the rail network is integral to its management of the safety of the 2,200 kilometres of railway in Ireland.

The company’s Biodiversity Guidelines provides a comprehensive handbook to all infrastructure staff to protect the natural environment – including animal, plant and marine life – encountered in the management of maintenance of tracks, stations, bridges, signalling and electrical equipment. 

The railway corridor, for both passenger and freight services, passes through a range of different land types and requires regular maintenance of tracks, stations, bridges, signalling and electrical equipment. These Biodiversity Guidelines will ensure all essential works carried out consider the complete ecosystem at any location and ensure works are carried out without interfering with or having impact on the surrounding environment. 

The document highlights:

  • Appropriate actions to be undertaken when dealing with protected animal species and their habitats, including Badgers, Bats, Otters, Freshwater Pearl Mussel, Crayfish, Nesting Birds, Hedgerows, Tree lines, and linear habitats along the railway corridor itself. 
  • Noxious plants or invasive plant species, including Japanese knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed which require specific actions to prevent spread
  • Actions that should be taken throughout projects to consider the environment from the very beginning and how to protect it, legislation that must be followed, or licences that may be required prior to works commencing. 

The guidelines are the latest step in the company’s sustainability journey and further supports its commitment to place sustainability not only at the heart of the service and infrastructure it delivers, but also at the heart of how it delivers them.

Iarnród Éireann CEO Jim Meade said, “central to the development of a sustainable national transport system, our network operates through diverse landscapes around the country connecting communities in both urban and rural areas. These Biodiversity Guidelines are an acknowledgement of our responsibility, as the national rail operator, to ensure our practices are appropriate and considered, protecting the natural environment in which we operate.”

Cathal Mangan Chief Civil Engineer, Infrastructure Management at Iarnród Éireann said, “these guidelines have been developed for all of us involved in the maintenance and renewal of our assets, to help guide and educate us all in a wide range of biodiversity topics such as vegetation management, protected species, our legal obligations and much more. They’ll help us enhance biodiversity on and adjacent to our lands while carrying out works to our infrastructural assets.”

Source: Iarnród Éireann


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