The Hen Harrier Forest Management Protocol was suspended in 2010 without consultation with stakeholders and currently no planting is allowed in the 6 Hen Harrier SPAs. The protocol had been agreed in 2007 following lengthy consultation with stakeholders and agreed an annual afforestation quota was allocated for each of the 6 Hen Harrier SPAs. The protocol permitted local landowners to plant less than 0.2% of the designated SPAs per annum.
In 2012 following discussions with the European Commission it was agreed that Ireland would pursue a Threat Response Plan for the protection of the Hen Harrier. A Hen Harrier Threat Response Plan Consultative Committee of which IFA is a member was established in late 2014 to ensure the view of those affected were incorporated into the development of the plan. The first meeting of the Consultative Committee was the 31st March 2015. The terms of reference of the Consultative Committee are as follows:
- To represent the views of stakeholders in regard to matters to be considered in the Plan development process;
- To consider and advise the Inter-Departmental Steering Group whether the measures being considered for inclusion in the draft plan are sufficient, effective and proportionate, given the legal parameters applying the protection of the birds and to the SPA;
- To review the draft plan and provide observation as required; and
- To assist the Steering Group in the consideration of responses to public consultation on a draft of the plan.
It was envisaged that the development of the Hen Harrier Threat Response Plan would be completed in two years.