Eamonn McMahon is working on the Gas to the West project in Northern Ireland, and talks about what he gets up to in his role as one of our many Agricultural Liaison Officers at DM.

Typically, I begin the working day around 8am by reviewing and responding to any early morning e-mails. Today, there is a request for a progress update on the acquisition of the sites for the District Pressure Governors. After dealing with the e-mails, I travel to the site.

At present, construction activities in this section include fencing, pre-construction drainage, top soil stripping, pipe stringing and trenchless crossings over public roads. First, I attend the fencing to check the location of crossings and gates, and to get feedback from the crew on any queries they may have had with landowners. Whilst there, I take a call from a landowner with a question about their Basic Payment Scheme Force Majeure application.

Next stop is the top soil stripping. At the road crossing, the landowner is watching the operation. He marvels at the deftness of the machine operators, but inevitably the conversation is dominated by the continued rain and the prospect of better weather.

After this, I visit the pre-construction drainage work. I speak to the supervisor and to one of the Agricultural Inspectors. The Agricultural Inspector informs me of a location where the drainage pipe has been welded across a livestock crossing. I visit the landowner and thankfully he has no issue with this as he plans to cut silage in this field, and he confirms that the contractor had cleared it with him prior to the welding.

I receive a phone call from a landowner requesting an additional drinking trough as accommodation works for the scheme. I contact the contractor’s ALO who agrees to get it installed the following day. After informing the farmer of this, I take the opportunity to contact the Northern Ireland Electricity case officer to arrange a site meeting in relation to the electricity supply to one of the proposed block valve sites. Whilst parked, I respond to an e-mail from the client’s solicitor regarding one of the few outstanding land option agreements.

I have a meeting arranged with the owner of one of the proposed District Pressure Governor sites. The client’s lead engineer is also attending. The meeting is very productive and we leave hopeful that we have made significant progress towards this acquisition.

I return to the fencers and their supervisor and I walk the next few fields to mark the crossing positions for the contractors. I contact the landowner and ask him to move his sheep before the fencers move in. Another landowner contacts me to see when his land is due for fencing and to establish if he can get a grazing off the field before it is fenced. We think he has about four days.

After leaving the fencers, I check the road crossings to ensure that the roads have been swept throughout the works and to alert the contractor to any that may need attention. Local residents, particularly those not engaged in agriculture, appreciate efforts to keep the roads clean.

In the evening, I respond to the e-mails received during the afternoon. There is a drawing from the Dalcour Maclaren mapping team for review by me.

So ends another varied and fulfilling day, even if it rarely stopped raining!’

If you have a thirst for the outdoors and would be interested in taking on a similar role to Eamonn, please contact Nicola Putt at [email protected] or visit our careers page.