Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (246)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

246. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of proposed natural heritage areas; when they were initially registered for inclusion; when he plans to designate them as natural heritage areas; if they have already been assessed or monitored since becoming natural heritage areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2894/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

There are 632 proposed natural heritage areas. While a review of these sites is foreseen, it is not on my immediate priority framework. The current focus of my Department is on fulfilling Ireland’s obligations under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives and the designation of Natura 2000 sites, i.e. the 600 special areas of conservation and special protection areas. The proposed natural heritage areas were advertised to the public in 1994-1995.

Proposed natural heritage area sites are not subject to the protection provisions of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000. However, they may be recognised in local authority development plans.