In this particular case, the application for the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme which was submitted on behalf of the person named in September 2019 was withdrawn and an application for a larger area was submitted in October 2020.
A Natura Impact Statement (NIS) has been received for this application and, as a consequence, a second 30-day public consultation, which a requirement under S.I. 293 of 2021 for cases subject to Appropriate Assessment, has been undertaken and has been completed. The case is currently referred to my Department's Ecology Unit, to have the ecological assessment undertaken (taking into account any submissions received).
As part of this proposed afforestation is within a European site, the approval of the NPWS is required before a licence may be granted and we are following up with NPWS on the matter. Once we receive a response from NPWS we will aim to issue a decision to the applicant within 6 weeks.