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Maritime Jurisdiction

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 November 2021

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Questions (55)

Richard Boyd Barrett


55. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his input and the input of the NPWS in the Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 with regards to the biodiversity of Ireland’s seas and nearshore and the plans for increasing the marine protected areas in the interest of protecting the environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55038/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Maritime Area Planning (MAP) Bill sets out proposed procedures for forward planning and project level assessments of specific proposals under the Planning and Development Act.  The National Parks and Wildlife Service is now under the remit of my Department and engagement between officials has been ongoing throughout the development of the MAP Bill text in relation to those procedures.

Any development in the Maritime Area will be subject to full environmental assessment in the context of a particular planning permission application where the specifics of the development and area in question will be considered in detail.

The Programme for Government, published in June 2020, commits to developing comprehensive legislation for the identification, designation, and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).  This legislation is a priority for my Department. Work to draw up a general scheme of an MPA Bill will commence in the coming weeks.  When drawing up the general scheme, account will be taken of the findings of the  report of the expert advisory group on marine protected areas, published in January 2021,  as well as the outcome of the recent public consultation on the wider MPA process which ran from mid-February to the end of July.

My Department received circa. 2,400 submissions from members of the public and other stakeholders during this consultation process. An independent review and analysis of these responses is currently being carried out. The findings and conclusions from this study will be published in a detailed report that will also inform the development of the proposed MPA legislation.