Public consultation now required on certain forestry projects – Ministère
The Ministry of Agriculture is changing the way forestry projects that require appropriate assessments under the Habitats Directive are assessed, it has been announced.
The House of Agriculture says this change, which takes effect immediately, is necessary to give full effect to the recent legislative changes made by SI No 293 of 2021 of the EU directive.
In response to the instrument, the Department said it had “launched a revised public consultation to ensure that there is full public participation in decision-making regarding projects that may have an effect on the sites. Europeans ”.
The new procedures for consulting forestry authorization applications will now be:
- A 30-day consultation period upon receipt of the license request. This is already the case and the applications continue to be available free of charge on the Forest Permits Viewer on the Department’s website. Any member of the public can submit a submission within 30 days of publication of the license application. A fee of 20 € for a quote on any request will apply;
- A second 30-day consultation period will begin after receipt of a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) or after an appropriate assessment report has been produced by the ministry, and the relevant documentation will be posted on the website of the ministry. If an SNI is submitted with the initial request, only one public comment period is required. This is the new process, and it is a process that allows for broad public consultation on forest permit applications. It applies to files that are shortlisted for an appropriate assessment. All system files that have not yet been decided and future requests will be covered by this new consultation process with immediate effect;
- Lists of these appropriate assessment cases open for consultation will be published on the forestry pages of the Department’s website at Submissions on these requests will be accepted against payment of a fee of € 20 per submission, although no charge. ne and paid for a submission on the same file;
- All files that are discarded for proper evaluation will follow the same procedures as before;
- When publishing a licensing decision from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Marine, any member of the public can appeal to the Forestry Appeal Committee. The deadline for filing an appeal will now be 14 days from the decisions rendered as of July 12, 2021. A fee of € 200 for filing an appeal applies.
The update comes as forest owners plan to take legal action over continued delays in the issuance of felling, thinning and planting licenses by the Ministry of Agriculture.
A Dublin-based law firm said it has been contacted by a number of farmers and other forest owners about the serious and ongoing licensing crisis.
While about 1,500 new licenses have been issued for 2021, this equates to only 30% of the ministry’s target of 4,500 for the year.