IFA SAC Project Chairman Padraic Divilly has said that environmental designations such as SAC, SPA and NHA which restricts farming and other developments must be compensated for.
At a meeting with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Padraic Divilly told Minister Deenihan that it is unacceptable that restrictions are being imposed on farmers without proper compensation. In the past the NPWS Farm Plan scheme was available for the various designated areas, but this scheme has been closed for the past 2½ years.
Padraic Divilly told the Minister that if compensation was not provided he should either reduce the restrictions or else take the areas out of designation.
At the meeting with the Minister, the IFA delegation which included the Chairman of the Forestry Committee Mike Fleming and Environment Chairman Harold Kingston, raised the problems regarding forestry restrictions in Hen Harrier areas, turf cutting compensation, flexibility to the hedge-cutting dates and burning of heather on mountain land, as well as wider restrictions on designated land.
Padraic Divilly told Minister Deenihan that the delay in making changes to regulations was unacceptable and was impeding development in rural areas. Farmers and landowners are very frustrated at the lack of progress and IFA impressed on the Minister the need for action.