Written Answers. - Natural Heritage Areas.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

845 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands her views on the designation of a section of Ventry Strand as a development zone and its exclusion from a natural heritage area in a draft plan from Kerry County Council; and the communications between her Department and the European Commission over legal action the EC is taking against the Government due to the Ventry Strand designation. [20367/00]

My Department has proposed Ventry Strand for designation as a natural heritage area. I intend to designate the site when powers become available to me under the proposed amendment to the Wildlife Act, 1976, which the Deputy will be aware is on Committee Stage. Kerry County Council has no powers to exclude any area from a proposed or designated natural heritage area. However, Kerry County Council is the body charged with implementing planning law and I have already requested the county council to take account of these sites in its development plans.

I am unaware of any court proceedings initiated by the EU Commission in connection with Ventry Strand.