Waterway buffer zones could cost €3.5 billion

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association has strongly criticised the suggestion that a ten metre buffer zone should be created around every river, stream and lake in Ireland, saying it could cost in the region of €3.5 billion to implement.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association has strongly criticised the suggestion that a ten metre buffer zone should be created around every river, stream and lake in Ireland, saying it could cost in the region of €3.5 billion to implement.

ICSA rural development chairman, John Barron, says the call by Friends of the Irish Environment would effectively decommission thousands of hectares of productive Irish farmland, bringing with it an enormous cost.

“A conservative estimate would suggest that there are over 70,000 kilometres of waterway in Ireland, and that figure excludes the many thousands of hectares of lakes. To create 10 metre buffer zones on each side of each river and stream would imply the de-commissioning of over 14 thousand hectares of mostly productive land. ICSA estimates that the loss of this ground would represent a loss of up to €3.5 billion worth of agricultural land and there would be an additional cost associated with fencing it off.”

“The question is how can this be realistically funded? It is plain to see that this is a completely unrealistic and unworkable proposal. There would be a far better return from upgrading sewage treatment infrastructure,” Mr Barron concluded.