Sinn Féin TD for Sligo/Leitrim Martin Kenny will bring a Bill to second stage in the Dáil on Thursday evening which would make forestry developments over five hectares subject to planning permission.
Teachta Kenny first introduced the Bill in 2018. He has said that forestry plantations have a significant impact on people living near them, so should be subject to planning permission like any other development.
Teachta Kenny said:
“Planning permission for forestry is something that is needed throughout the State.
“Planning permission is currently only required in order to plant more than 50 hectares, which is a very large area.
“As a result, very few people have had to apply for planning permission in respect of forestry developments over the years. What is particularly concerning is the type and scale of forestry that is evident in many parts of the country and the visual, environmental and societal impact it has.
“The visual impact is certainly something I see in my part of the world, where we have large areas of forestry – mainly Sitka spruce and pine forests – which grow and block out many people’s access to light.
“Many people have built or bought houses with a beautiful view of a lake or mountains and within a couple of years forests have grown in front of them and they have no right to object and no right to say anything to anyone about it.
“There are various groups around the State that support this Bill and some local authorities, including Leitrim County Council, have tried to regulate forestry over the years, with cross-party support.
“In the last Dáil term, Fianna Fáil indicated that its TDs would support this Bill and now that Charlie McConalogue TD is the Minister for Agriculture, I will be very disappointed if the Bill does not progress. I look forward to debating the Bill in the Dáil on Thursday; which will be voted on next week.”