I propose to take Questions Nos. 369 and 370 together.
As outlined in reply to a number of previous Questions, planning is a matter for the planning authorities and planning requirements are set out in the various Planning Acts and regulations. As also previously outlined, the EU Habitats Directive and recent case law has reinforced the need for strict adherence to environmental requirements.
Before awarding public funds, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) seeks to ensure that due diligence in ascertaining the planning status of projects is exercised by the project promoters (including IFI).
Applicants for works projects involving the disbursement of public funds are, in the first instance, required to ascertain whether any proposed works require planning permission from the relevant Planning Authority. This can be done with relative ease via a pre planning meeting with the Planning Authority or appropriate certification from a professional Engineer. IFI policy, in this regard, supports compliance by all project promoters with the requirements of the Appropriate Assessment (AA) and Natura Impact Statement (NIS) processes envisaged under the EU Habitats Directive particularly where planning consultation is required. Therefore, in common with other public bodies, IFI accepts the certification of the professional Engineers, acting for works project applicants, that planning permission is not required.