Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ceisteanna (207)

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

207. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce marine protected areas; and the role the NPWS would have in the process. [16865/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

As I have stated in previous replies on this matter, I am committed to developing primary legislation to provide for the creation of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in accordance with the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Work on this will commence when legislation to prohibit certain products containing plastic microbeads is sufficiently advanced. Government approved the General Scheme of the Microbeads Bill in October 2018 and the work on drafting that Bill is being progressed.

It is also my intention to establish an expert advisory group in the first half of 2019 to help develop a process for the identification, designation and recommendation of candidate marine areas which require protection. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, along with other relevant Government Departments, State Agencies and subject matter experts, will all play a key role in this group.  The NPWS is responsible for designating and managing Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) established under Birds and Habitats (Natura2000) Directives, a number of which are designated as MPAs under the OSPAR Commission.