A SEPARATE environmental impact assessment screening and consent system is being devised by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for on-farm development works that fall outside the planning system — such as removal of hedgerows, combining of fields, ploughing of semi-natural areas, seeding and fertilising and the maintenance of field drainage.
This system of regulations — which excludes activities and development on wetlands — is currently being finalised.
"It was considered that most of these types of activities are more appropriate outside of the planning system, and that legislation should be introduced by my department that would provide a more accessible and timely screening and consent process for farmers. Therefore, these elements have been removed from the planning system by exemption and will now be included in regulations that I will introduce," said Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.
"It should be noted that it is not intended that the drainage of lands will be generally prohibited, but that a farmer will have to apply for permission where he or she intends to undertake drainage works above a certain area threshold."
- A planning exemption is also being introduced for tanks for rainwater from the roofs of agricultural buildings to encourage uptake of the rainwater harvesting grant scheme.
- A planning exemption is also being introduced for portable waste disposal compactors, which Junior Environment Minister Willie Penrose said can play a key role, particularly in rural areas without municipal waste collection, to facilitate waste collection.