Leitrim's County Councillors have unanimously backed a motion calling on the Minister for Environment to bring “all future afforestation under the planning regulations” regardless size or location."
Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mary Bohan put forward the motion noting that the forestry industry is heavily subsidised and that often locals didn't know a forestry had been planned until machinery arrived on site. She said forestry should be subject to planning and development charges.
Cllr Enda Stenson agreed stating that Leitrim County Council has to “take control of the situation.” He said there needs to be a cap on the amount of forestry in a county.
The Director of Service, Planning, Community and Economic Development pointed out that the initial afforestation of lands is classified as an exempt development under the Planning and Development Regulations.
“An Environmental Impact Assessment is required for planting more than 50 ha and as a result would require planning permission. Amendment regulations would be required nationally to remove the current exemption status.
“However, developments requiring provision of access to a public road are specifically excluded from (such) exemptions.”