Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (423)

Enda Kenny

Question:

564 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he has plans to restrict the activities of An Taisce; his views on the abolition of the group; his further views on the groups activities to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25005/04]

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

I consider that An Taisce carries out valuable work on a number of environmental and amenity initiatives. These include the national spring clean and the blue flag schemes, both of which receive substantial grant assistance from my Department and a green schools programme, which is widely supported by local authorities.

Article 28 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 includes An Taisce in the list of prescribed bodies to whom notice must be given of certain planning applications. Under this provision An Taisce is notified where a proposed development might impact on matters such as areas of special amenity, protected structures, national monuments and nature conservation. As Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, I will keep the regulations, including the list of prescribed bodies, under continual review to ensure that they deliver an effective and efficient planning service leading to quality planning decisions. I will see that any necessary changes to support this outcome are addressed on a timely basis. Environmental NGOs, including An Taisce, are responsible for regulating their own activities.