Written answers

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Photo of Ivana BacikIvana Bacik (Dublin Bay South, Labour)
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699. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the contribution of his Department to the land use review as outlined in the Programme for Government. [45135/21]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) had long since recognised the importance of land mapping to support better decision making on land use and management practices, therefore a dedicated land use division has been established by DAFM.

DAFM is partnering with several agencies in providing assistance to Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the validation of the National Land Cover mapping project to produce a national land cover map which is currently being developed. This map is a key tool in assessing land use, and forms the basis of the information needed to determine land uses as well as the ability to identify carbon rich soils under agricultural management in Ireland.

Land use is a crucial climate mitigation measure available to Ireland, but there are significant challenges to be overcome to maximise the potential contribution from land use. The Programme for Government: Our Shared Future (2020) commits to a land use review to ensure that optimal land use options inform all relevant government decisions. The review will include consideration of urban and rural land use, forests and peatlands. The national land use review will also:

- Balance environmental, social, and economic considerations and involve a process of evaluation of the ecological characteristics of the land;

- Gather the data and evidence to report on and determine the environmental, ecological, social and economic characteristics of land cover, land use and land-based activities across Ireland and how they interact and influence each other; and

- Include consideration of emissions to air and water, carbon sequestration, and climate adaptation challenges.

The review is being overseen by a Steering Committee co-chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC). The steering committee is in place with representatives from DAFM, DECC, EPA, Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) and independent nominees.

The review is being carried out in two phases. Phase 1 of the Land Use Review is an evidential review being chaired by the EPA with technical advisors from National Parks and Wildlife services, Teagasc, DAFM, DECC, OSI, DHLGH, Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) and the Heritage Council. Work is already underway with agreed work packages and timelines in place. Phase 1 will form the principal evidence gathering phase of the review to determine the environmental, ecological and economic characteristics of land types across Ireland.

The second phase will build upon the results of the evidential review and consider policies and measures in the context of the Government’s wider economic, social and climate objectives.


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