The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that David Flynn, who was the principal adviser on water in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, has joined its board of directors.

Flynn, who has more than a 20-year track record in senior environmental science and protection roles, will take up his new job as director next month.

According to the Department of Housing he previously had responsibility as the head of business unit adviser for “leading on Ireland’s Water Framework Directive planning process”.

This included overseeing the preparation and coordination of implementation of river basin management plans and preparing the climate adaptation plan in relation to water quality and water services infrastructure.

Flynn, who had also previously worked as licensing programme manager and as enforcement programme manager with the EPA, will join the organisation as a full-time executive with a five-year term of office. 

Laura Burke, director-general of the EPA, has officially welcome him to the organisation’s board.

He will join fellow board of directors – Gerard O’ Leary, Office of Communications and Corporate Services and Environmental Sustainability; Dr. Micheál Lehane, Office of Radiation Protection and Environmental Monitoring; Dr. Eimear Cotter, Office of Evidence and Assessment; and Dr. Tom Ryan, Office of Environmental Enforcement – from October.

The EPA is responsible for overseeing and implementing the national water quality monitoring programme.

The programme is designed to assess the overall condition of rivers, lakes, canals, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwaters, and to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and the Nitrates Directive.

The EPA’s latest Water Quality report for 2022 found that one of the most “significant stressors” on water quality and ecosystem health in Ireland was high nutrient levels, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. 

The organisation is also responsible for preparing an annual report for the European Commission on the results of water quality monitoring in relation to Ireland’s nitrates derogation.

In the EPA report – Water Quality Monitoring Report on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations in Irish waters 2022 – the agency outlined that there has been an increase in nutrient concentrations since 2012/2013 in most water types.

The report, published in June, identified the areas where farms will have to reduce their application rate of organic manure nitrogen (N) from 250kg N/ha to 220kg N/ha.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, there now needs to be a collective effort by farmers to retain the current nitrates derogation.