Dáil Éireann - Volume 643 - 11 December, 2007
Written Answers. - Rural Environment Protection Scheme.
Deputy Michael Creed Deputy Michael Creed
Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the regions where her Department has requested reduced stocking densities on commonages; the reason for her Department’s request in each case; the progress that has been made in respect of each area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34175/07]
Deputy Mary Coughlan Deputy Mary Coughlan
Deputy Mary Coughlan: As a result of environmental damage on commonages due to overgrazing by sheep, Ireland was required by the European Commission to put in place comprehensive measures to deliver environmentally sustainable farming practices as a condition of making REPS payments to commonage farmers. Over 4,000 Commonage Framework Plans, covering approximately 430,000 hectares, were prepared by agricultural consultants on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and of my own Department. When each plan was being prepared, a field assessment was carried out and the level of destocking (if any) that was recommended was directly related to the environmental condition of the commonage. Destocking was recommended to varying degrees on commonages in every county. The European Commission continues to monitor progress with the exercise in the context of the Wild Birds Directive, and it has already been necessary for the National Parks and Wildlife Service to take additional steps in one area to deal with overgrazing problems. Other areas where recovery of vegetation has been unsatisfactory are also being monitored by the NPWS and I understand that it may be necessary to take similar steps in those areas.
Dáil Éireann 643 Written Answers. Rural Environment Protection Scheme.