Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
305. Deputy Alex White asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the action he has taken to ensure compliance with the dune restoration order for Tinnaberna Dune, County Wexford, signed in January 2011 under the 2010 EC natural habitats directions pursuant to Regulation 19 of the EC (Natural Habitats Regulations) 1997; the reason more than half of the site was covered in dung and weeds on 11 June 2011; his plans to prosecute this alleged breach of the section 19 order or empower an agent of his to take action to complete the restoration in a timely fashion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21302/11]
306. Deputy Alex White asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht how repayment of costs incurred by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in buying sanding and fencing and any other costs in connection with the restoration order at Tinnaberna Dune, County Wexford, has been secured; when the costs will be repaid, in view of the ministerial order served on persons (details supplied) in County Wexford that stipulates that the restoration be carried out at the expense of the address; the reason his staff bought the fencing abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21303/11]
The costs of restoration works are being met by the landowners whose actions resulted in damage to the site. In addition, a significant penalty was imposed on the individuals concerned under their Single Farm Payment. The restoration works are subject to regular inspection by officials from my Department who are also in regular contact with the landowners involved. The works are proceeding satisfactorily though there have been some delays due to difficulties in sourcing appropriate materials and poor weather conditions.
As part of the requirements of the restoration order, all cattle have been removed from the site and large accumulations of animal waste have been removed. Feeding troughs and other infrastructure have also been removed. Sand trap fencing has been installed. Further removal of contaminated material will be undertaken in the coming weeks.
My Department sourced and purchased suitable membrane material for use in the sand trap fencing from a supplier in County Wicklow. The land-owners in question have agreed to meet the costs involved. The individuals concerned have also met all costs associated with providing machinery, fuel, fence posts and other materials. They have also met any labour costs arising from the works to date.
The site is likely to show signs of some nutrient enrichment for several years, including the presence of weedy vegetation. This will remain the case until the site is re-profiled with the sand that is accumulated using the sand trap fencing. This is a large scale project which requires a patient and informed step-by-step approach. The objective of my Department is to ensure that the works are done correctly, to a high standard and as expeditiously as possible. It should be noted that this is the first time a restoration plan of this scale has been undertaken for this type of habitat in Ireland and my Department will continue to monitor the situation closely.
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