Thursday, 12 February 2004

Questions (186)

John Bruton

Question:

186 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to minimise non-agricultural development on best quality soils here in order to retain the nation's capacity to feed itself in an emergency which inhibits supplies from abroad. [4446/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Section 10 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 provides that the development plans of planning authorities shall set out an overall strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the area to which the plan relates. The development plan must include objectives for the zoning of land for the use solely or primarily of particular areas for particular purposes, whether residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, as open space or otherwise, or a mixture of those uses.

The Act further provides that the development plan may include objectives for,inter alia, reserving or allocating any particular land, or all land in any particular area, for development of a specified class or classes, or prohibiting or restricting, either permanently or temporarily, development on any specified land. It would be a matter for each planning authority to determine in the context of making its development plan whether these provisions should be applied to restrict non-agricultural development on land within its functional area if this was considered necessary for the proper planning and sustainable development of the area of the development plan.

It should be noted that information from the Central Statistics Office indicates that Ireland is self-sufficient in most of the major commodities it produces. The individual commodity ratios are as follows:

Item

%

Butter

1,016

Milk Powder

901

Beef

820

Cheese

551

Lamb

303

Pigmeat

163

Poultry

103

Cereals

88

Guidelines for planning authorities on residential density under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act seek to encourage more sustainable urban development and avoid excessive suburbanisation. The guidelines indicate that increasing residential densities will help to reduce urban sprawl and lessen the need to use additional land resources for housing development. Planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála, where applicable, are required to have regard to these guidelines in the performance of their functions.

It is not proposed at this time to introduce any additional measures in relation to the restriction of non-agricultural development in order to guarantee food supply.