Catchment News

Seminar Series: Nature-Based Solutions – from theory to application

Using nature-based solutions in our communities is a potential win all round – good for water, good for climate, good for biodiversity and good for people. Making this happen means changing how we think about the design, delivery and use of our built environment. This four-part series hosted by Engineers Ireland and organised in association with the LA Waters Programme and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will introduce key concepts and provide a guide to designing and managing these projects.

Series Overview

Our society continues to adapt to innovations in technology, long-established patterns disrupted by climate change, and our desire to make healthier lifestyle choices, amongst other factors.

Our infrastructure, at all scales, needs to evolve to take advantage of these changes, and the broad range of built environment stakeholders all have a vital role to play in shaping these new landscapes and driving this transition.

Why employ nature-based solutions?

  • Improves climatic resilience in the face of increased risk of flooding and extreme temperature
  • Increases biodiversity
  • Creates more sustainable and climate-adaptive urban neighbourhoods through the allocation of space to natural landscaping

These techniques, working with the prevailing geography, can minimise environmental impact, and sensitively applied will strengthen the best qualities of a locality, enhancing amenity and popularity.

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This 4-part series runs throughout May – click on the image to register now.

However, employing these techniques requires a change in the way we think about the design and delivery of our roads, streets and public spaces across all of our settlements.

To help make these choices better understood we need to explain what they are, how they work and what this means for the people and communities affected by these changes.

To deliver this transition will need a new paradigm, one that reshapes how these choices are regulated, how they are adopted and maintained.

Series Aim

This webinar series is designed to provide a whole life narrative and decision-making framework for the many parties involved in the process.

Structured on a universal design and delivery process it will walk through the process and provide a guide on how to identify and respond to conditions as a project typically proceeds, identifying those stakeholders and project disciplines that should be involved at each stage.

Series Objectives

The series will draw different interests over the four sessions, with some participants present for all four. However, there is a shifting emphasis in terms of skill, discipline and relationships as a typical project progresses through the design stages. 

After the series, the participants should have gained: 

  • An understanding of the value and benefits of Nature Based Urban Infrastructure Design & Delivery
  • An overview of how to appraise site conditions to determine options and concepts 
  • Insight into key considerations when developing a concept which is then used for consent and statutory assessment purposes
  • An appreciation of the prevailing Statutory processes and design stages in terms of design detail, content and documentation
  • Insight into examples of employing these techniques into the design of engineering projects
  • Logging and documenting the process for ongoing operation, management, and knowledge sharing
  • Networking and forging supply chain relationships

Upcoming webinars

Webinar 1: Projects from Concept to Planning Stage – Thursday, 4 May

Chair, Conor Galvin, Office of Public Works

Background: Fran Igoe, Local Authority Waters Programme

  • Speaker 1: Achieving Water Framework Directive Objectives through Integrated Catchment Management and Nature-Based Solutions: River Santry Case Study, John Stack, Dublin City Council
  • Speaker 2: Dublin City Council, Greening Strategies,  integration of  nature-based SUDS, and co-benefits. Peter Leonard, Dublin City Council
  • Speaker 3. Adoption of nature-based solutions in the Urban Periphery – local roads and transition zones. Seán Fitzsimons. Clandillon Civil Consulting
  • Speaker 4: Delivering benefits with Nature-based solutions by managing risk of sewer flooding. Michael Goss, Uisce Éireann

Webinar 2: Projects at Detailed Design Stage – Thursday, 11 May

Chair. Finola O’Driscoll, National Transport Authority

  • Speaker 1: Integrating nature-based solutions into Social housing. Padraig O’Gorman, Carlow County Council
  • Speaker 2: Moving from hard engineers solutions to a nature based approach (bioretention) to managing surface water on a primary road in a rural town. N74 TII Project. Alan Costello and Aidan O’Connell, Mott MacDonald
  • Speaker 3: Building nature-based solutions into an active travel project in Glenageary.  Conor Geraghty, DLRCC

Webinar 3: Projects at Construction Stage – Thursday, 18 May

Chair. Stephen O’Malley, Civic Engineers

  • Speaker 1: Rainscapes. Anthony McCloy, McCloys Consulting
  • Speaker 2: In practice – learnings from the UK. Meristem Design | Habib Khan
  • Speaker 3: Retro Fitting the Urban Environment for SUDS. Pilot Project – The North East Inner City Greening Strategy. Gareth Toolan, Dublin City Council
  • Speaker 4: Moving from an eye-sore with surface water management issues using nature-based solutions – a simple example for Local Authorities. Padraig O’Gorman, Carlow County Council

Webinar 4: Maintenance and Lessons Learnt – Thursday, 25 May

Chair. Adrian Conway*, ex Dublin City Council

Next steps: Averil Gannon, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

  • Speaker 1: Emerging considerations on the adoption from NBS. An example from the N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin, Sligo. Seán Fitzsimons. Clandillon Civil Consulting
  • Speaker 2: Maintenance considerations from the Cardiff experience. Some top tips! Ian Titherington, Senior Policy Adviser – Sustainable Drainage, Welsh Government.
  • Speaker 3: Plants and landscaping. What, where and when. Isla Jackson, Civic Engineers

*Lead author on – Nature-based Solutions to the Management of Rainwater and Surface Water Runoff in Urban Areas – Best Practice Interim Guidance Document (

Learn more:

Register in advance for this webinar series

Nature-based Catchment Management – working with nature to benefit biodiversity, water and the climate – –

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.