Farm groups point finger over planning confusion
Farm organisations have slammed the Department of Agriculture's failure to give accurate information on proposed new planning rules for on-farm improvements.
Under a new regime, which was outlined to farm bodies recently by officials from the departments of Agriculture and Environment, it was proposed that planning permission would be needed for the drainage of wetlands, while the reclamation of farmland would in some instances require Department of Agriculture approval.
A screening process is to be introduced to assess land reclamation projects. However, the Department of Agriculture has yet to outline the threshold levels at which this process kicks in.
Speaking after a recent presentation given by the Department of the Environment to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, IFA president John Bryan said farmers needed clarity on the issue.
"There is a serious lack of factual information regarding this proposed planning legislation and the impact it would have on the farming community," Mr Bryan said.
He called on Environment Minister Phil Hogan and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to "immediately address farmers' concerns".
Mr Bryan said the new planning regime had the potential to "sterilise" productive farmland.