EPA submission in response to the Public Strategy Consultation by the National Parks and Wildlife Service on its Draft Strategy Statement 2023-2025. In the submission the EPA recognises the need for an appropriately resourced and focused NPWS, with clearly defined strategic priorities and objectives, in the context of the urgent biodiversity and climate crises. The NPWS is an important stakeholder of the EPA’s. We cooperate and coordinate on several common work areas in the interest of protecting Ireland’s environment. Points raised in the submission include those on collaboration, implementation and enforcement of legislation, the Natura 2000 network and regulatory processes. Further observations are included in an Appendix.
Re: AIE request 22 1451
AIE for access to information held by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine relating to
For the period from 26 November 2021 to the date of your reply to this AIE request:
1) All communications (all media) with DG Environment by DAFM,
2) All communications (all media) from DG Environment to DAFM.
- impacts of agricultural dairy expansion, peat extraction, forestry, aquaculture and windfarm developments in Ireland
- the adequacy and affordability of the means of national redress in the Irish courts
Lack of clarity whether the actions required to protect birds in the wider countryside had been completed.
The Hen Harrier Threat Response Plan (HHTRP) proposed by the Irish authorities in 2012 is still not adopted
The biggest concerns raised was about the state of Ireland’s birds given that some are in a critical condition – in particular breeding waders and farmland birds
Commission remained concerned that forestry levels within Hen Harrier sites remained high and replanting policies still needed to be assessed
Conservation objectives were still missing for sites and that whilst some of the plans adopted are good, declines in bird species have continued
Legislation was adopted to allow for more effective enforcement action against illegal peat digging e.g. powers to confiscate excavators (Note: needs validation, last NPWS action was in 2012, and machinery was not confiscated, and case was dropped)
Level of peat extraction in SACs is still significant and has not reduced in the last 5 years. It appears to the Commission that efforts to further reduce this activity have dwindled and this is concerning. It was also noted that no information has been provided for the 2021 digging season. Furthermore, from the information the Commission had available it appeared that only limited restoration work appears to had started and the delays in action risk further deterioration of the sites concerned.
The Commission asked to be provided with an update on enforcement action taken and progress made on restoration for both the raised bog and blanket bog SAC sites. The Commission also asked Ireland to provide information on action taken to reinforce compliance for the forthcoming cutting season before end March 2022 with an assessment of the effectiveness of this action to be provided before end June 2022
The Commission reiterated its concern that progress on the identification and designation of sites under the Habitats Directive and in particular feeding/forgaging areas for seabirds under the Birds Directive is too slow, in particular in the light of Ireland’s offshore ambitions. These two ambitions appear to be on a collision course
Derrybrien Wind Farm Article 260 Infringement (2000)4384 is still on the list
Lack of enforcement generally being taken in Ireland against breaches of planning law. This is a core concern
Landslide at the site of a windfarm (19 turbine) built on peat bog in Meenbog, Co Donegal in November 2020 (CHAP (2020)03412) – The Commission would like to understand why lessons from Derrybrien still appear not to have been learnt.
Note: The Irish authorities to provide a written update on the action taken to ensure that its assessment and decision making process for windfarms on peat soil is fit for purpose with regard to tackling soil stability and potential landslides. Written
details regarding the situation and follow up given to the 2020 landslide in Meenbog to be provided.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – Infringement (2017) 0368
The Commission stressed that more than 4 years after the expiry of the transposition deadline, Ireland is still missing elements of transposition for Directive 2014/52/EU in this infringement concerning the non transposition of this amending Directive into national law
Agriculture Policy and Impacts
The Commission explained that numerous complaints have been received with regard to the negative environmental impacts of Ireland’s dairy and beef expansion policies. CHAP(2020)2004 and CHAP(2020)2721
Forestry Policy and Impacts
The Commission explained that it had received numerous complaints with regard to forestry practices in Ireland. As was discussed at the last package meeting, file CHAP (2015)00331 had raised concerns that there had been only one environmental impact assessments carried out since the Directive came into force. Further concerns were outlined in an exchange of letters between the Irish authorities and DG Environment (lead by unit D.1 within DG Environment)
There are concerns that forestry activities within designated SACs and SPAs are still being allowed to impact negatively on these sites – in particular with regard to Freshwater Pearl Mussel and Hen Harrier.
The Commission explained that it would also be helpful to understand how climate change assessments are being progressed looking at whether historic afforestation on deeper peat soils can be counted towards climate goals and how this will be addressed in the new forestry and peatland strategies currently being drafted.
Forestry data: concerns were raised again by the eNGOs about the lack of transparency for forestry licences, in particular when a large block of licences is applied for in one go (reference was made to 1800 coillte felling and restocking applications made in a single application in 2021 with each application being subject to a 30 day deadline for comment)
Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive – Infringement (2013) 2056
Water Framework Directive – Conformity – Infringement (2007) 2238
Water Framework Directive – 2nd River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) – EU Pilot (2021)9913
Recovery and Resilience Plan
The Commission requested information on the level of restoration/rehabilitation Ireland is aiming at and how the success of the investment will be measured. The Commission would like to better understand how Ireland is setting and reporting on the milestones for its peat rehabilitation investment.
How these gains will be protected into the future e.g. though legal land designations for nature protection? The Irish authorities implied that it was too early to consider this but that an undertaking had been given in the context of state aid discussions with DG Competition that the land would not be put into economic use post remediation.
Lack of EIA for Peat Extraction – Infringement (2019)4007
Access to Justice – Infringement (2012)4028
Response to issues raised concerning Irish forestry and the environment
The Remedial Action list is a record of the public water supplies known to be at risk and where the EPA is requiring Irish Water to take corrective action. The EPA has instructed Irish Water to submit an action programme for the improvement of each of these supplies and has initiated enforcement action where action programmes were not being prepared or were not prepared to the satisfaction of the EPA. This includes issuing legally binding Directions requiring specific work to be carried out.
EPA Submission on the draft Arterial Drainage Maintenance Activities 2022-2027 and associated SEA environmental report. Published 23rd January 2023.
For the period 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022 (both dates inclusive) please provide, by email, a copy of all Notices served under Section 12 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 in relation to forestry activities. (Other non-forestry related Section 12 Notices are not requested)
Euroforest Timber Ltd
Water pollution at Attimanus, Kilnagross, Leitrim
Water pollution at Tullywana, Gubnaveagh, Leitrim (LM09-FL0043)
Water pollution at Crumpaun, Leitrim (LM01-FL0010 & LM01-FL0011)
Established in 1994, it manages Irish pension fund and charity investment in forestry. IForUT’s unit holders include many of the major Irish pension funds and investment managers.
The forest portfolio comprises of commercial forest plantations covering over 20,000 hectares.
The assets of the Trust are held by a Trustee on behalf of investors.
IForUT Forestry Management Limited is an authorised Alternative Investment Fund Manager regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
- Mullaghboy Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Corrard Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Summary Plan New Drumlayden MP 2022 – 2026.pdf
- Summary Plan New Kiltynaskellan MP 2022 – 2026.pdf
- Broadford Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- Corrofin Summary Plan 2022 – 2026.pdf
- Crusheen Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- Kilmaley Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Kilmihil Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- Maghera Summary Plan 2022 – 2026.pdf
- Scarriff Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- North Cork Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- West Cork Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Knockbrack Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Brosna Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Castleisland Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Kenmare Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Stacks Mountains Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Ivreagh Peninsula Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Sravannies Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Dromahair Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Drumcong Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Lavaur Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Moneengaughagh Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Foxfield Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Garvagh Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Summary Plan Ballinamore MP 2022-2026.pdf
- Summary Plan Drumgownagh MP 2022-2026.pdf
- Summary Plan Halls MU MP 2022 – 2026.pdf
- Ballinameen Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Fairymount Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Knockvicar Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Mantua Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Attiville Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Drummacool Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Lough Arrow Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Knockmaroe Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- Mackina Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- Borrisnafarney Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Knocknagarve Summary Plan 2022-2026.pdf
- Summary Plan Leugh MP 2022-2026.pdf
- Ballynultagh Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- Kilcarney Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
- Tinode Summary Plan 2021-2025.pdf
IRISH FORESTRY UNIT TRUST FORESTRY NOMINEES LIMITED
AIE 22 2479
All information which was used to derive the content of the Screen Out Scenarios (Column 3) in the Forest Service’s Habitat Table v18Dec19 used as part of its AA Procedures;
Records to include, but not restricted to, details of meetings (including Minutes), correspondence (any media), technical reports, scientific studies, ecological expertise provided (internal and external), etc.