21 Dec 2010
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGNATIONS ON LAND TO BE A GENERAL ELECTION ISSUE – IFASACs
IFA SAC Project Chairman and Connacht Vice President Padraic Divilly said the severe implications that environmental designations have on farmers and landowners will be a major issue in the forthcoming General Election.
Speaking following a meeting in Dublin attended by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Padraic Divilly said that it is unacceptable that the livelihoods of up to 20,000 farmers and landowners are being affected without having proper recourse to fair procedures for appeals and compensation.
Currently 13% of all land in the Country are designated Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protected Area or Natural Heritage Areas. The main areas affected are in the west of Ireland, midland bogs, river and coastal areas.
The IFA man said that the Minister for the Environment John Gormley still plans to proceed with turf cutting restrictions on 32 raised bogs next year. This will have to be resisted until such a time as compromises are arrived at which include options for allowing turf cutting for domestic purposes, relocation and compensation. The 6,000 turf cutters will be affected by Minister Gormley’s plans and they must be resisted.
Continuing Padraic Divilly criticised the Designated Appeals Body, which now only favours the environmental lobby. The landowner representatives are being totally undermined as the appeals process is weighted firmly in favour of the environmental groups aided and abetted by the NPWS.
Concluding, Mr. Divilly said the next Government has to seriously look at the designation process, which is now seen as a mechanism to stop any development including wind farms, energy crops and forestry.