Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Ceisteanna (129)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

129. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay in approving applications by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department places great importance on the careful vetting of all applications for forestry licences to ensure that their potential impact on the surrounding environment is carefully assessed. These impacts may affect habitats, water courses, archaeological monuments etc; the social aspects of the proposal are also considered to ensure the operations meet the required standards.

The two applications submitted on behalf of the person named must be taken together, so the possible effect of the operations is reviewed in combination.

On initial review of the applications, the Forestry District Inspector concluded that the site had a direct hydrological connection to and was within three kilometres upstream of the Blackwater river Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the River Cork/Waterford SAC. These SACs are sensitive for Fresh Water Pearl Mussel.

I understand that the applicant was asked to provide a harvest plan and Natura Impact Statement. The documents have been received and are being prioritised and considered by both the Ecologist and the District Inspector for both applications. The District Inspector will provide recommendations for the application, which will form the decision. That decision will be issued to the applicant and their registered forester when available.