IFA SAC Project Chairman Padraic Joyce has accused the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of reneging on previous commitments on designated SAC and SPA areas by refusing to put in place a proper compensation scheme for farmers with designated land, and failing to take into account the devaluation of land as a result of designation.
Speaking following a meeting of the Designated Areas Monitoring Committee in Dublin today, Padraic Joyce pointed specifically to the Hen Harrier areas where land has been sterilised and is been devalued without a proper compensation scheme. Forestry as an option for farmers with this land has been closed off for the past six years and promises made under the Threat Response plan have not been delivered upon. The locally led scheme Hen Harrier scheme appears to have hit the rocks and promises made by the Government for a meaningful scheme have not been delivered on.
IFA also raised concerns in relation to the Shannon Callows, commonages and other designations where restrictions are imposed. In relation to fencing of land in designated areas, IFA raised the extra cost imposed on farmers where planning and EIA assessment add to the burden on the low income sector of farming.
In relation to flood alleviation works on designated rivers, a commitment was given that the NPWS would not object to work being carried where the public good is at stake.
Concluding, Padraic Joyce said Heritage Minister, Heather Humphreys must engage on the problems of designated land and show support to landowners whose income and property values are effected by designations.