Thursday, 5 April 2007

Questions (22)

Denis Naughten


19 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the steps he intends to take to extend the closing date for special area of conservation appeals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13271/07]

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

Under the Habitats Regulations 1997, a landowner may seek review of a proposed designation of land as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) by making an objection in writing, and based on scientific grounds, to my Department along with a clear map of the land in question. The Regulations provide that such objections must be made within a three-month period of the site being notified and it is now necessary in the context of EU infringement proceedings against Ireland under the Habitats Directive to strictly enforce this three-month limit. There are no proposals to amend the Regulations at this time. However, I understand that a new mechanism for amending boundaries to SACs, post-adoption, is to be devised by the European Commission in consultation with Member States; at that stage the position will be reviewed.