Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000

Intention to designate natural heritage areas.

16.—(1) Where the Minister is of the opinion, having regard to subsection (6)(a), that any land forms, or is part of, a natural heritage area the Minister shall publish or cause to be published in the Iris Oifigiúil, and in at least one newspaper circulating in the locality in which the land is situate, a notice in the prescribed form of the Minister's intention to make an order designating the land as a natural heritage area.

(2) Before the publication of a notice in accordance with subsection (1), the Minister shall—

(a) seek the observations of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, the Minister for Public Enterprise, the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, and such other Minister of the Government as the Minister considers appropriate in the circumstances, the Commissioners and any planning authority in whose functional area the land is situate, and

(b) serve on the owner or occupier of such land and any holder of a valid prospecting licence or exploration licence duly issued under any enactment which relates to such land notice of the proposed particulars to be contained in the order the Minister proposes to make.

(3) A notice served under subsection (2)(b) shall—

(a) be accompanied by a map of an appropriate scale in the circumstances issued by or under the superintendence of the Ordnance Survey Office, upon which is marked, so as to identify clearly, the land to which the notice relates and the boundaries thereof,

(b) outline the reason the site is of special scientific interest and indicate the works which the Minister considers would be liable to destroy or to significantly alter, damage or interfere with the integrity of the proposed natural heritage area,

(c) indicate the protective measures the Minister proposes to include in the proposed order for the protection of the natural heritage area, and

(d) indicate the procedures by which a person may object.

(4) The Minister may amend a notice served under subsection (2)(b) in respect of any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) (b) and (c) of subsection (3), and where the Minister is of the opinion that any notice published under subsection (1), observation sought under subsection (2)(a) or notice served under subsection (2)(b) is materially affected by an amendment under this subsection, the Minister shall, in relation to the amendment, publish or cause to be published a notice under subsection (1) or bring it or cause it to be brought to the attention of any person so affected and to whom paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (2) relates.

(5) Notwithstanding section 3(1)(d) of the Principal Act, where the address of any person to whom subsection (2)(b) relates cannot be found after reasonable inquiry, notices and maps showing the areas to be designated shall be displayed in a conspicuous place—

(a) at one or more Garda Síochána stations, local offices of the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, local authority offices, local offices of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and offices of Teagasc, which are situated within or contiguous to the area to be designated, or

(b) where in any case there is no such station or office so located, at one or more of each such station or office within the vicinity or closest to such area,

and advertisements shall be broadcast on at least one radio station broadcasting in the locality of the area concerned and be placed in at least one newspaper circulating in the area, and every such notice and advertisement shall request any person affected by the proposed designation to contact the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands.

(6) (a) The Minister, in publishing or causing to be published a notice under subsection (1), shall have regard to whether, on the basis of the scientific advice available to the Minister at a particular time, the area is worthy of conservation by virtue of its special scientific interest for one or more species, communities, habitats, landforms or geological or geomorphological features, or for its diversity of natural attributes.

(b) The scientific advice referred to in paragraph (a) shall take account of the size of the site, its location, the type of natural feature or features contained in it and the degree of negative human impact.

(7) Not later than 3 months after publication in the Iris Oifigiúil of a notice pursuant to subsection (1), a person on whom a notice is served under subsection (2)(b) or pursuant to any amendment to such notice or any person claiming to have or to be entitled to an interest in or over the land or part thereof may object on scientific grounds to the making of the order in the manner specified in the notice.