Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 01 July, 1999

Written Answers. - Architectural Heritage.

163. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his Department has any policy on the provision of green belts around towns and villages as in other EU countries to protect the character of these locations particularly where there are major historical and architectural features and old streetscapes. [17057/99]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Dempsey): The Local Government (Planning and Development Act), 1999, which will commence in January of next year, will require local authorities to include objectives in their development plan for preserving buildings, places, areas or townscapes, which are of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest. The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands will issue guidelines to assist authorities in implementing the new Act following consultation with the Minister for the Environment and Local Government.

The development plan is also the principal means by which local authorities can set out their policy objectives for the protection of the environment and amenities generally. These objectives may designate land for green belts, for preserving open space, etc. My Department has not issued guidelines to local authorities but it is my intention to issue general guidelines to planning authorities concerning development plans, following the enactment of the forthcoming planning and development Bill which will reform and consolidate planning law in Ireland.