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Afforestation Programme.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 31 March 2009

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Ceisteanna (390, 391, 392, 393, 394)

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

414 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the height elevation at which it is suitable to plant a commercial crop of timber above yield class 14 to 22; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13015/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

There is no specified elevation at which it is suitable to plant a commercial crop of timber above yield class 14 to 22. Elevation is one of a number of factors that must be considered before approval for planting can be given by my Department. Other factors include soil type, location and the potential for environmental impacts on the sites for planting. Regard must also be had to the range of national and European environmental Directives, legislation and regulations that are designed to protect the unique characteristics of certain designated areas. Where applications for afforestation come within areas designated for protection under such Directives or legislation, my Department must consult with other statutory bodies before deciding on the applications.

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

415 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if land capable of producing a commercial crop of timber above yield class 14 to 22 can be planted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13016/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Generally speaking, land capable of producing a commercial crop of timber above yield class 14 to 22 can be planted. However, all applications for approval to plant must have regard to a range of issues including soil type, location and the potential for environmental impacts on the sites for planting. Regard must also be had to the range of national and European environmental Directives, legislation and regulations that are designed to protect the unique characteristics of certain designated areas. Where applications for afforestation come within areas designated for protection under such Directives or legislation, my Department must consult with other statutory bodies before deciding on the applications.

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

416 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if unenclosed land in the mid and east Kerry areas can be planted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13017/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

417 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the forestry service policy in relation to the planting of unenclosed land in the east and mid-Kerry areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13018/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

418 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of hectares of unenclosed land which have been applied for planting in the east and mid-Kerry areas; the amount of same which has been approved by the forestry service for planting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13019/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I propose to take Questions Nos 416 to 418, inclusive, together.

The term "unenclosed lands" describes land that was never improved or enclosed by man-made boundaries for agricultural use other than extensive grazing. In the context of afforestation in Ireland, these lands tend, in general, to be the most unproductive being peat lands or lands located on the exposed slopes of upland areas.

As the land covered by the classification "unenclosed lands" is not a homogenous entity, and includes an array of soil types and locations, it is necessary to closely examine all proposals for afforestation on these lands on their merits. This would also apply to such lands in the mid and east Kerry areas. Any application for planting in these areas must be carefully examined to determine any potential environmental impact of that planting. It must also have regard to the range of national and European environmental Directives, legislation and regulations that are designed to protect the unique characteristics of, and habitats within, these areas. Where applications for afforestation come within areas designated for protection under such Directives or legislation, my Department must consult with other statutory bodies before deciding on the applications.

As regards the number of hectares of unenclosed land in the east and mid Kerry areas for which applications have been received and approved it is not possible to give the information in the format requested by the Deputy. My Department would need to know the specific Townlands or District Electoral Divisions in respect of which the Deputy requires the information and also the relevant timeframes.

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