Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 18 May 1993

Vol. 430 No. 8

Written Answers. - Areas of Scientific Interest.

Mary Harney


116 Miss Harney asked the Minister for Finance the protection that is afforded to areas which are designated areas of scientific interest; and if there is any basis in legislation for such protection.

Helen Keogh


117 Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Finance his views on the protection that should be afforded to areas of scientific interest; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 117 together.

While there is no specific legal protection as such for Areas of Scientific Interest there is an administrative arrangement whereby grant-aiding authorities e.g. the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and Local Authorities consult the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Office of Public Works where proposed developments are to take place within Areas of Scientific Interest. This is in accordance with EC regulations which state that grant-aid should not be paid where a development will adversely affect the environment. The full implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Clifden Airport case on the legality of designating ASI's are being examined by the Commissioners at present.

Government approval was given in December last year to designate 1.25 million areas of land as natural heritage areas. These are the most important areas for conservation of Ireland's native flora and fauna.

As a first step Areas of Scientific Interest will be resurveyed and designated as natural heritage areas where they meet the necessary criteria. I intend that this shall be completed by the end of 1993.
Legislation has been drafted which will provide protection for natural heritage areas. This should be before the Oireachtas later this year.