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Environmental Assessment (Forestry) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1998

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations.)

1.  These Regulations supersede the Environmental Assessment (Afforestation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1989 which are revoked (regulation 19(1)). The Regulations provide for further implementation of Council Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (O.J. No. L175, 5.7.85, p. 40) in relation to specified projects relating to forestry. These are defined as “relevant projects” in regulation 2(1). The definition includes a limitation to projects which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

2.  The Regulations require that consent shall be obtained from the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland (“the Department”) for relevant projects (regulation 3). A person who proposes to carry out a project may apply to the Department in accordance with regulation 4 for its opinion whether the consent is required. Regulation 5 provides for the Department to give notice of its opinion to the person who proposed the project and makes provision for it to give an opinion of its own motion. If the Department’s opinion is that consent is required, the person who proposed the project may request the Department to reconsider its opinion (regulation 6).

3.  Applications for consent are to be made to the Department under, and must be accompanied by the documents specified, in regulation 7. These documents include an environmental statement conforming to the requirements in the Schedule. The Regulations provide for the Department to seek further information from the applicant (regulation 8) and for publicity for applications and for representations to be made to the Department by interested persons (regulation 9). Regulation 10 provides for information to be provided to other Member States of the European Community.

4.  Regulation 11 deals with the determination of applications by the Department, including matters they are to take into consideration. The Department must give notice of its decision to the applicant and publicise it in accordance with regulation 12. The applicant can ask the Department to reconsider its decision (regulation 13). Regulation 14 specifies conditions as to time which must be included in every consent.

5.  Where work in relation to a relevant project is or has been carried out without consent or in breach of a condition of consent, the Department may issue an enforcement notice (regulation 15). The Department may be requested to reconsider its decision to issue an enforcement notice under regulation 16. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice constitutes an offence (regulation 17). The Regulations provide for powers of entry and for a person authorised by the Department to carry out works where an enforcement notice is not complied with (regulation 18). There are transitional provisions in regulation 19.

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