Dáil Éireann - Volume 681 - 30 April, 2009

Written Answers. - Special Protection Orders.

[707] Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the steps necessary to implement a special protection order on Dublin Bay; the progress he has made in implementing the order; if any of Dublin Port’s lands will be exempted from the order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17166/09]

  Deputy John Gormley: The South Dublin Bay and River Tolka Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA), North Bull Island SPA and the Howth Head Coast SPA were proposed for designation and advertised on 28 May 2008. These sites had previously been designated as SPAs but it was considered necessary to amend the boundaries of all three sites with the effect of increasing the proportion of Dublin Bay that is protected.

Under the provisions of the European Communities (Habitats) Regulations 1997, public notification affords these sites the full protection of the Regulations from the date of notification, including any part of the proposed SPA that may be under appeal.

Local landowners, businesses, marine users and residents were notified directly of these changes and the proposal to designate was also advertised in national newspapers and on three radio stations.

A three month period was given to all land and marine users and persons with a legal interest in the area in which to object to the designation. There were no appeals on the North Bull Island and Howth Head Coast SPAs .

The South Dublin Bay and River Tolka Estuary SPA is the subject of one appeal — the Dublin Port Authority has objected to the inclusion within the SPA of 31 hectares of inshore area adjacent to its lands. The appeals process is currently underway and will result in a recommendation to me, based solely on the criteria as stipulated in the EU Birds Directive, as to whether this area should be included in the designed area or not. I expect this appeals process to be completed in a matter of weeks.