Minister for the Environment commences new quarry legislation

A sandpit in operation

On the 15 of November 2011 the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government signed the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 (Commencement) (No.3) (Order 2011). This order commences sections 74 and 75 of the Planning and Development Act (Amendment) Act 2010 that amended the Planning and Development Act 2000 by the insertion of a new section 261a which relates to the regulation of quarries. Continue reading

Irish Flanged Axes

Flanged axe found near Castledermot, Co. Kildare.

The flanged axe is a distinctive Bronze Age form, introduced at the end of the Early Bronze Age that represented an attempt to improve the hafting mechanism of the axe head by creating a longitudinal flange combined with a latitudinal ridge to prevent the axe head from moving around on the haft while in use. With the flanged axe the flanges extend beyond the stop-ridge and curve back into the sides of the axe. Actually the use of low flanges and stop-ridges had already appeared on the earlier Derryniggin type axes about 1700-1600 BC. Another approach is represented by the palstave axes, where the flanges and stop-ridge were cast as a single unit. The palstaves appear to represent a parallel approach to improving the axe haft and may have been a later development that came into use alongside the flanged axe, though much smaller numbers are known from Ireland.

There are about 700 flanged axes known from Ireland. They take a variety of forms. Most have the characteristic crescent-shaped blade. Some have low flanges that are convex in section and others have high angled flanges. In some cases the high flanges were bent inwards to grasp the haft and these are called wing-flanged axes. Some examples have loops which acted as an additional fixing point to attach the axe head to the haft. Some of the flanged axes have decoration on the blades and flanges.

No Irish flanged axe has ever been found in association so dating them is difficult. A matrix for a looped flanged axe occurs on a stone mould from Lough Scur, Co. Leitrim along with the matrices for two flat, thin butted axes. The mould doesn’t date the flanged axe as the matrix could have been a later addition to an old mould but it does suggest that flanged axes could have developed during the Early Bronze Age. The flanged axes probably appeared while the Derryniggin axes were still in production before 1600 BC and superseded that type. No flanged axes have been found in Late Bronze Age hoards so they appear to have gone out of use by 1200 BC.

Further reading

Greer Ramsey 1995. Middle Bronze Age Metalwork: Are Artefact Studies Dead and Buried? In J. Waddell and E. Shee Twohig, Ireland in the Bronze Age. Dublin.

About the author

Dr. Charles Mount has been involved in research on the Irish Bronze Age for more than twenty years and has published extensively on the burials, monuments and artefacts of the period. This blog post is based on research he is preparing for a book entitles Ireland in the Bronze Age. You can read more of Dr. Mount’s publications here .

Cite this post as:

Mount, C. Irish Flanged Axes. The Charles Mount Blog, November 10, 2011.

What is Strategic Environmental Assessment?

Proposed National Children's Hospital, Dublin


Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is in the news because The Heritage Council, a statutory body, has made a formal submission at an Bord Pleanála oral hearing into the plan to build a 16 storey National Children’s Hospital in Dublin; stating that the Department of Health has failed to comply with the European Union SEA Directive by not carrying out a strategic environmental assessment of the proposal before it was formally adopted in 2006.

For those not familiar with SEA it is mandated by EU Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council On The Assessment Of The Effects OF Certain Plans And Programmes On The Environment. The Directive took effect in member states on 21 July 2004 and was implemented in Ireland through two sets of regulations: SI No. 435 of 2004 European Communities (Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes) Regulations 2004 and SI No. 436 of 2004 The Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Impact) Regulations 2004.

SEA is different from Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in that it looks at the likely significant environmental effects of plans or programmes rather than projects and is carried out by competent authorities, those responsible for the preparation or modification of a plan or programme, rather than developers. SEA is carried out out in relation to plans and programmes for: agriculture,  forestry, fisheries, energy, industry, transport, waste management, water management, telecommunications and  tourism; where these set the framework for future development consent projects and the competent authority determines they are likely to have significant effects on the environment. Some plans and programmes, such as those involving national defence, financial plans and some EU plans are excluded.


A competent authority must also screen plans or programmes not on the above list that set the framework for future development consent projects and are likely to have significant effects on the environment on a case by case basis. The competent authority must consult with the environmental authorities. These include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in relation to architectural or archaeological heritage or nature conservation, fisheries or the marine includes the appropriate minister. Determinations on screening must be made available to the public and notified to the environmental authorities.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

Where a plan or programme is determined to require an SEA this must be carried out by the competent authority during the preparation of the plan or programme. The competent authority must also give notice of the scoping of the SEA to the environmental authorities. An SEA shall indentify, describe and evaluate the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing or modifying the plan or programme and any reasonable alternatives. The authority must send the draft plan to the environmental authorities for comment and publish a notice for the public inviting comments. Once the plan or programme is adopted the competent authority must send a notice of adoption to the environmental authorities and publish a notice of adoption. The competent authority must also monitor the significant environmental effects of the implementation of the plan to identify any unforeseen adverse effects to be able to undertake remedial action.

Cite this post as:

Mount, C. What is Strategic Environmental Assessment? The Charles Mount Blog, November 3, 2011.