A ‘StoryMap’ has been published to showcase how the Environmental Sensitivity Mapping (ESM) Webtool has been applied to support informed planning decisions towards environmental protection and sustainability at national, regional and local levels.

The ESM Webtool is now being used by local authorities and regional assemblies in Ireland with ongoing development and training undertaken by UCD’s School of Geography and the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) at Maynooth University.

“It is a freely accessible, evidence-based, environmental sensitivity mapping system that efficiently saves time and cost, and it removes the complex IT barriers. This has made it ‘a game changer’ to advance practice by fostering participative, informed and transparent decisions,” noted Ainhoa González, Associate Professor at UCD’s School of Geography.

The Environmental Sensitivity Mapping (ESM) Webtool is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) and is hosted by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) on GeoHive (the State GeoSpatial Data Hub).

The webtool has been devised to support evidence-based planning and decision-making by helping to anticipate potential land-use conflicts, thus informing the identification of suitable development locations while protecting the environment. It has already been included on the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform as a Good Practice model.

Click here to access the StoryMap. To provide feedback on the ESM Webtool, email all comments and questions to esm@ucd.ie.