Written Answers. - National Plan for Care of Coastline.

Liz McManus


64 Ms McManus asked the Minister for the Marine if he has considered the call made by a person (details supplied) for the introduction of a comprehensive national plan for the care of our coastline; if so, his response to the call; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The call referred to by the Deputy was made at the Irish Planning Institute's recent National Planning Conference.

I also addressed this conference and in the course of my address I made a number of references to emerging policy thinking in relation to management of the coastline.

I said that coastal erosion is a serious and growing problem and that the Department of the Marine is currently reviewing its approaches to this problem. In this regard, I said, the way to proceed in the future is to look beyond individual projects and embrace the concepts of coastal zone management which gives a comprehensive overview. I went on to identify close co-operation between the Department of the Marine and maritime local authorities, who have primary responsibility for coastal protection, as being essential in the planning of all coastal protection works. Indeed, this close co-operation is important to the planning and management of all aspects of the coastal zone.
In this connection, close co-operation takes place with maritime local authorities in relation to the planning system for the State foreshore. Present practice involves extensive consultation with the planning authorities who have an interest in any foreshore development which will impact on their services and infrastructure and on the quality of that part of our environment heritage under their control.
I also informed the conference that the Department of the Marine, in formulating a comprehensive national coast protection programme, wrote to all maritime local authorities, asking them to submit a list of their priorities for coast protection projects. Drawing on the submissions received and the Institute of Engineers and the City and County Engineers Association's report "Coastal Management — A Case for Action", proposals for a comprehensive programme, to be implemented over the next six years, have been drawn up. These proposals are being put forward with a view to securing funding in the next round of Structural Funds allocations. These allocations have yet to be finalised but hopefully the Government will accord a high priority to the Programme.