Dáil Éireann - Volume 522 - 28 June, 2000

Written Answers. - Special Areas of Conservation.

211. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the proposals, if any, she has to compensate farmers in a realistic fashion for areas designated as SAC and other designations; her views on whether farmers, who have land designated as such, should not lose financially; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18597/00]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): I have submitted a draft compensation scheme to the EU Commission for its agreement and I am expecting its reply shortly. Under this proposed scheme farmers will be compensated for actual losses which arise from the designation of their lands as SACs. This compensation scheme will apply to farmers who are not in the voluntary rural environment protection scheme – REPS – and who enter into a management agreement with Dúchas, the heritage service of my Department.