Leitrim TD says forestry plantations should need planning permission

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

434 hectares  planted in Leitrim  last year

At the moment only plantations over 50 hectares require planning.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Kenny TD, has said that forestry plantation has significant effect on people living near it, so should be subject to planning permission the same as a new front wall or gate on a dwelling.

The Sligo-Leitrim TD was introducing a bill to oblige planning permission on plantations over five hectares.

Deputy Kenny said; “Planning permission for forestry is something that is needed throughout the country. At present, forestry can be planted without practically any planning permission at all. Planning permission is only required in order to plant more than 50 hectares of forestry, which is a very large area.

“As a result of this, very few people have had to apply for planning permission at all over the years. What we are really concerned about here 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 people's light.  In many places on the landscape we see them break the horizon. 

“They completely destroy people's lives.  Many people built or bought houses with a beautiful view of a lake or mountains and within a couple of years forests grew in front of them and they have no right to object and no right to say anything to anyone about it."

Many agencies and groups around the country support this bill said Deputy Kenny and he explained that various local authorities, including Leitrim County Council, have also tried to regulate forestry over the years, with cross-party support.