Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
258. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when the hen harrier threat response plan will be published; the reason for the long delay in the publication of the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44563/21]
Following final meetings of the inter-departmental group to review the draft Hen Harrier Threat Response Plan revisions have been made to the draft Plan to reflect the outcome of that and earlier meetings.
A draft of the Threat Response Plan was also brought to the Consultative Committee, to seek their views, with the intention of then proceeding to public consultation. The Consultative Committee raised a number of matters that my Department is now working to address. These include the finalisation of site-specific conservation objectives for the six breeding Hen Harrier SPAs.
Following the conclusion of discussions with the Consultative Committee, the Plan will move to a stage of public consultation, as well as a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment, if required.
The process has taken longer than expected due to the complexity of the issues to be addressed and widespread consultation with stakeholders on these issues.
In the interim the EIP Hen Harrier Project operated by the Department of Agriculture has been extremely effective and has been availed of by high numbers of farmers.