Sunday 19 July 2009

New rules to protect Tara area

NEW PROTECTIONS for the Tara-Skryne Valley, which would prevent the construction of retail parks and superstores along the route of the M3, have been announced by Minister for the Environment John Gormley.

Mr Gormley said he could not prevent the construction of the motorway near the Hill of Tara, which continues to be the subject of protests by environmental and heritage groups, but he could protect the landscape to prevent inappropriate development.

In conjunction with Meath County Council, Mr Gormley proposed to designate the Tara-Skryne Valley a Special Conservation Area. This would protect the archeological and historic landscape and make it difficult for any construction to take place within the zone. However, Mr Gormley said it would in particular stop the type of large-scale development, such as shopping centres, or retail parks, which have been built along motorways in the past.

“This will ensure that the very negative sort of development associated with motorways will not impinge on the area . . . the sort of motorway development we’ve seen in the past, the BQs, that would not be acceptable.”

The plans for the designation, which has been allocated €50,000 funding from the Department of the Environment and the Heritage Council, will have to be submitted for public consultation and agreed by Meath county councillors before the designation is confirmed. It is likely that the protection will be in place by the middle of next year.

Mr Gormley said he also intended to increase the protection for national monuments in the new National Monument’s Act, which is currently at draft stage.

Irish Times

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