Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Questions (588)

Ciaran Cannon


588. Deputy Ciarán Cannon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress of the Tellus programme; and the amount of the country expected to be surveyed and analysed by the end of 2017. [21976/17]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Tellus is a ground and airborne geoscience mapping programme, collecting chemical and geophysical data that is informing the management of Ireland’s environment and natural resources. Tellus is undertaken by the Geological Survey and funded by my Department. All results and data from Tellus are made available free of charge online.

The objectives of the programme are to ensure that policy and decision-making with respect to Ireland’s environmental, agricultural and natural resources management is supported by world class national geophysical and geochemical datasets and products, specifically in the areas of radon and human health, soil chemistry and nutrients, mineral exploration, land use planning and groundwater protection.

The programme involves two types of surveying: airborne geophysical surveying using a low-flying aircraft; and ground-based geochemical surveying of soil, stream water and stream sediment.

To date, surveying has been completed in Northern Ireland (2004-2008), the border region of Ireland (2011-2013), the north midlands region of Ireland (2014-2015), the eastern midlands region (2015), and most recently the west (2016). In 2016, over 43,000 kilometres were flown during the four month surveying period over counties Galway, southern Mayo and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary .

Surveying activities for 2017 consist of airborne surveys in counties Mayo and Donegal, and a ground geochemical survey in the central west of the midlands of Ireland.  Both surveys commenced in early spring and will finish in autumn this year. By the end of 2017, approximately 50% of national coverage will be achieved.