Written Answers. - EIA for Forestry.

Chris Flood

Question:

30 Mr. Flood asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the amount of land which will be subjected to environmental impact assessment for forestry. [1868/96]

The environmental impact assessment procedure in relation to forestry, which is linked to the obligation to obtain planning permission, applies above a threshold level which is 200 hectares for initial afforestation and 10 hectares for the conversion of broadleaf high forest to conifers.

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department is reviewing the threshold for assessment in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, which is responsible for the relevant legislation. I expect that this review will lead to new thresholds which will be included in the detail of the forest strategy to be published within the next couple of months. Until the new thresholds are decided on — it is very difficult to predict either the number of applications likely to be received in any year or their individual sizes — the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot say what amount of land involving forestry will be subject to environmental impact assessment.