Intertek to Deliver Sustainability Assurance at Skellig Michael in Ireland

December 09, 2020

Liphook, Hampshire, UK: Intertek, a leading Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, has been contracted by the National Monuments Service (NMS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in Ireland, to undertake an environmental assessment of the draft Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichíl) World Heritage Site Management Plan 2020-2030 (Plan). The purpose of the assessment is to help ensure the Plan respects the unique heritage setting and ecology found on Skellig Michael.

Skellig Michael is a twin-pinnacled crag that is 12km west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. The island is designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site due to its outstanding universal value created by the historic relationship between monks of Skellig Michael (who founded a monastery there that later became a special place of pilgrimage) and the island’s unique topography and harsh environment. Additionally, the island is internationally renowned as one of the most important sites for breeding seabirds in Ireland, with the island itself and adjacent waters forming the Skelligs Special Protection Area for birds such as fulmar, puffin and guillemot.

Intertek determined, through a screening exercise, the requirement for a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA), both of which are necessary studies under European legislation to determine the impacts of activities (such as tourism) on the island’s important ecological habitats and archaeological features. Intertek has undertaken SEA to assess whether the proposed Plan will protect the environment and promote sustainable development and an AA to assess whether the Plan will cause ecological impacts to the Skelligs Special Protection Area. As part of the process, the Intertek team is currently supporting NMS with engaging with environmental stakeholders and members of the public to ensure that key environmental and ecological considerations are captured and integrated into the Plan before it is formally accepted.

Beth Monkman, Intertek Energy & Water’s Environment Lead, said: “We were delighted to be selected by NMS for this unique assignment to deliver an independent environmental assessment of this iconic Irish Island and World Heritage Site and have valued the opportunity to work in partnership with AEGIS, a local archaeology consultancy, and in consultation with ornithological experts from the University College Cork’’. 

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