The Planning and Development Regulations 2001 were amended in September 2011 by the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2011 to provide for initial afforestation to be exempted development, I.e. exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission.
The justification for exempting this form of activity from the requirement to obtain planning permission was because such activity was subject to a separate statutory development consent system under the European Communities (Forest Consent and Assessment) Regulations 2010 (the 2010 Regulations), administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The 2010 Regulations were subsequently revoked and have been replaced by the Forestry Regulations 2017, following the commencement of the Forestry Act 2014.
Similar to the 2010 Regulations, the 2017 Regulations make specific provision for public consultation in the application and approval processes relating to afforestation developments. As part of the statutory public consultation process, site notices must be erected at all entrances (to the proposed site) onto the public road in respect of forestry licence applications. Furthermore, notice of such applications is published on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s website, under public consultation.
I have no proposals to amend the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 in this regard as this matter now falls under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.