Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
I thank the Senator for her comments. We commented on the previous occasion on how some of the carbon fund was being allocated towards peatlands restoration. The Senator mentioned what should be done from 2022. It would be for a future Government to decide the trajectory of the carbon fund as set out by the committee, and where that money will be focused. Whether that will be peatlands will be up to them but the €5 million commitment we have made is a positive start and will allow that important restoration and rewetting work to commence.
One of the main aims of the habitats directive is to ensure that the habitats and species listed in it achieve favourable conservation status. In essence, this means that these habitats and species are being maintained in a satisfactory condition and that situation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. In this regard, the definition within the Bill has been derived by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel from the definition of "favourable conservation status" in article 1 of the habitats directive and in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011. I do not propose, therefore, to accept these amendments. The definition is not by accident; rather it is based on the important definitions in the birds and natural habitats regulations. That is in conjunction with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and, therefore, I do not believe there is a need to change the current definitions.