Thursday, 5 April 2007

Ceisteanna (22)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

19 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the steps he intends to take to extend the closing date for special area of conservation appeals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13271/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Under the Habitats Regulations 1997, a landowner may seek review of a proposed designation of land as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) by making an objection in writing, and based on scientific grounds, to my Department along with a clear map of the land in question. The Regulations provide that such objections must be made within a three-month period of the site being notified and it is now necessary in the context of EU infringement proceedings against Ireland under the Habitats Directive to strictly enforce this three-month limit. There are no proposals to amend the Regulations at this time. However, I understand that a new mechanism for amending boundaries to SACs, post-adoption, is to be devised by the European Commission in consultation with Member States; at that stage the position will be reviewed.