Thursday, 4 March 2004

Questions (140)

Mary Upton

Question:

136 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the astronomy and space committee of the Royal Irish Academy has made repeated requests to his Department for preliminary discussions on the way in which the problem of light pollution here may be abated; the reason commitments to respond to these requests have not been met; the further reason his Department appears unwilling to consider a matter of such importance to planning, the physical environment and international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol; if this is the normal way for the scientific community to be treated; if he will facilitate the holding of such preliminary discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7370/04]

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

One request for a meeting was made by the National Committee for Astronomy and Space Research of the Royal Irish Academy. My Department regrets that a reply has not yet issued, and will rectify the matter. I am happy to facilitate a meeting in this case with the Royal Irish Academy or on other matters of interest to them within the areas of my responsibility, as appropriate.

I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 1542 to 1558, inclusive, of 9 October 2002 and my stated view that it would be premature to commit to new legislative or other systematic measures to address light pollution in view of the Government's ongoing priorities in the area of environmental legislation. I note that EU environmental policy is not as yet addressing the issue of light pollution.