Written Answers. - Land Afforestation.

John Browne

Question:

68 Mr. Browne (Wexford) asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht the reason the National Parks and Wildlife Service is objecting to the planting of commonage land (details supplied) in County Wexford by Coillte in spite of the fact that this land is adjoining land already planted and the local landowners are anxious to sell; and if he will have arrangements made to have such objections removed. [8402/96]

The position in relation to this matter is that the afforestation grant scheme, administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has several environmental conditions attaching to it. One of these is that all works grant-aided under the scheme must be compatible with protecting the environment. The Forest Service requests the advice of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in relation to the environmental conditions.

In relation to this particular development the NPWS has investigated the proposal and found that the land in question is upland blanket bog, the afforestation of which would seriously damage the ecology of the area. The NPWS has transmitted this advice to the Forest Service.