Dáil Éireann - Volume 528 - 14 December, 2000

Written Answers. - Special Areas of Conservation.

203. Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands if buffer zones will be included as part of SACs; and if this is provided for in EU directives or Irish regulations. [30254/00]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): The EU habitats directive lists habitats and species for which SACs must be designated. Outside the boundaries of some SACs there are lands which, while not hosting such species or habitats, may need to be subject to restrictions of use in order to maintain the [983] favourable conservation status of the relevant species or habitats within the actual sites. These restrictions are likely to affect activities such as the spraying of fertiliser and pesticides. In some cases it may be appropriate to extend SACs to include such lands, which would also ensure that landowners are eligible for compensation.

204. Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the way in which the independent advisory board for Dúchas can be overruled by her. [30255/00]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): Under the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations, 1997, it is open to any person who has a legal interest in or over land that is proposed for designation as a special area of conservation to object to that proposal. That objection may be made on scientific grounds only. As the Minister responsible, decisions are made by me under the terms of the regulations in light of the advice given to me by the SAC appeals advisory board, which, I an aware, gives painstaking and meticulous attention to each case in which it makes a recommendation.