Written Answers. - Forest Research.

Jackie Healy-Rae

Question:

177 Mr. Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason no consideration has been given to alternative methods of testing in acid sensitive areas, such as those used in Scotland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21963/02]

The protocol, which includes the current testing methodology, was introduced by my Department following consultation between the Council for Forest Research and Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. The protocol is based on current scientific advice.

The position can be reviewed on an ongoing basis taking account of any additional research material, any information on best practice or alternative procedures in other countries. In that context my officials will be visiting the United Kingdom in the near future.