Dáil Éireann - Volume 564 - 01 April, 2003
Written Answers - Special Areas of Conservation.
Mr. Gogarty Mr. Gogarty
104. Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the threat to the protection of Ireland's wetlands by the reclamation of estuarine marsh land or callows for agricultural or other purposes, in view of the fact that such reclamation is exempted development under Class 11(f) of the Planning Regulations S.I. No. 600 of 2001. [8631/03]
Mr. Cullen Mr. Cullen
Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): The European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997 and the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 provide for wetlands of national and international importance to be designated as special areas of conservation, SACs, special protection areas, SPAs, or natural heritage areas, NHAs. A high proportion of all wetlands in Ireland are statutorily protected, having been designated or formally proposed for designation under the provisions outlined.
Although the reclamation described in the question is exempted development under the  planning regulations, any such development or activity in these areas which may potentially be damaging must have either the consent of the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, if it is within an area designated for conservation, or, if foreshore is involved, a licence from the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources before work can commence.
Dáil Éireann 564 Written Answers Special Areas of Conservation.