The creation of forest entrances to and from public roads currently requires planning permission from the relevant local authority under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. It is now proposed to introduce a Single Consent System, whereby my Department would issue a single licence for such entrances to public roads, with the exception of national roads which would still require planning permission. This new consent system will be introduced once the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government commence the relevant section of the Planning and Development Act. At the same time, my Department will, by way of Statutory Instrument, assume responsibility for the consent system.
Under this system, a series of measures aimed at minimising the impact of forestry activity on the public road network while also supporting the economic benefits that the forestry sector offers at local level will be introduced. These measures include:
- Adherence to the Technical Standard agreed by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for the design of forest entrances from public roads (http://www.dttas.ie/roads/publications/english/technical-standard-design-forest-entrances-public-roads). This Technical Standard will be subject to regular review to ensure it remains up to date;
- Consultation with local authorities and other relevant prescribed bodies in relation to forest road licence applications;
- Promotion of DAFM's grant scheme to encourage the use of central tyre inflation technologies on timber transport vehicles.
Once the new consent system is in place, clear guidance on the application process will be published on the Department's website and will notified by means of a circular to stakeholders.