Man loses complaint that planned forestry would obstruct internet service
Ruling will see new legislation to require applicants to place site notices where forestry is planned
In a significant decision for forestry owners, a man has lost his objection to a forestry development beside his property which was licensed by the Forest Service.
But, the ruling by the Office of the Ombudsman will see new legislation to require applicants to place site notices where forestry is planned.
He submitted an objection to the Forest Service when the development began on the basis that the access route was inadequate and that the development would affect his internet supply business.
His internet service depended on line of sight and it was claimed the trees would obstruct that.
However, the Forest Service refused to consider his objections as the licence had already issued before his correspondence was received.
The legislation applying to licensing forestry developments specifies that the Notice of the proposed development will be advertised on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website only.
The application was submitted and advertised on the website. Objections and submissions could be made within a month of the application being advertised and none were received.
The application was originally refused because the Forestry Inspector considered the access route unsuitable.
However the application was approved after an appeal and the applicant submitted alternative proposals for accessing the site.
The applicant also said he had consulted with neighbours, including the complainant, and had agreed to sell land surrounding their properties to them.
The complainant refuted this.
The complainant’s objection was only notified by telephone to the Department after approval had issued.
The emailed objection, which had been sent on the same date, was sent to the wrong email address and was not received until three months after the decision has issued.
Because the licence had already been issued and the development had commenced, the Forest Service considered that it was too late to take any action.
In its decision on the case the Office of the Ombudsman said the Forest Service had acted in accordance with the legislation in processing and issued the afforestation licence.
It said there was no evidence of maladministration and therefore the complaint was not upheld.
It also noted that the Forest Service intends to amend the legislation to require applicants to place site notices where forestry is planned so as to ensure that neighbours have adequate notice and are in a position to submit observations in a timely manner.
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