Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (517)

Thomas Pringle


517. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he will take in relation to the new advice from Teagasc that under no circumstances should peaty soils be drained; the way in which the information will be conveyed to farmers; and the measures that will be put in place to ensure that this advice is heeded. [37603/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) should not be interpreted as new advice but rather as a suite of measures that require careful consideration as to how the targets of the All-of-Government Climate Action Plan can be achieved.  Like all suggested measures, my Department will engage with farmers as to how to implement and understand best management practice.  In this respect, the Climate Action Plan sets out a target of at least 40,000 ha of reduced management intensity of grasslands on drained organic soils to 2030.   This will contribute 4.4 Mt CO2 eq cumulative abatement of the overall target of 26.8 Mt CO2 eq abatement through Land Use, Land Use Change and forestry actions over the period 2021 to 2030.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the current EIA (Agriculture) Regulations require that land drainage activities above certain thresholds, must go through a process of application for screening or approval of the works proposed.  Similarly, if the drainage works does not exceed the size thresholds but is identified as ‘requiring consent’ or is a ‘notifiable action’ in a European site (e.g. SAC or SPA), or an NHA,  screening by my Department may also be necessary under these regulations.