Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011

36.

European site that hosts priority habitat or species.

36.— The Act of 2000 is amended by substituting the following section for section 177AC (inserted by section 57 of the Act of 2010):

“177AC.— (1)( a) Where the Minister receives a statement of case under section 177AA(1) relating to a European site that hosts a priority habitat type or priority species he or she shall as soon as possible request the views of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as to whether the compensatory measures are sufficient to ensure that the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected.

( b) Following receipt of the views of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Minister may enter into consultations with the competent authority, who having consulted with the applicant for consent for the proposed development, may submit to the Minister a modified proposal for the development, modified proposed conditions to be attached to the proposed development, or modified or alternative proposed compensatory measures.

( c) The Minister may enter into consultations with the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and into further consultations with the competent authority in relation to the proposal for the development or any modified proposal for the development, the proposed conditions or any modified proposed conditions to be attached to the proposed development and the compensatory measures or any modified or alternative proposed compensatory measures.

(2)( a) Where the Minister considers that the imperative reasons of overriding public interest comprise or include a reason or reasons other than the reasons set out in section 177AA(4)( a) to ( c), the Minister shall consider whether the opinion of the Commission should be sought in relation to the matter.

( b) Where the Minister proposes not to seek the opinion of the Commission he or she shall as soon as possible consult with such other Minister of the Government as the Minister considers appropriate having regard to the functions of that other Minister and request that other Minister to furnish his or her views as soon as possible.

( c) The Minister shall consider any views received from any other Minister of the Government consulted under paragraph ( b) where those views are received by the Minister before he or she decides whether to seek the opinion of the Commission under paragraph ( a).

(3) The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as soon as possible after the request of the Minister for views under subsection (1)( a) or, as the case may be, the completion of consultations with the Minister under subsection (1)( c), shall furnish an opinion to the Minister as to whether the compensatory measures or modified or alternative proposed compensatory measures, as the case may be, are sufficient to ensure that the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected.

(4) Where the Minister forms the opinion that the imperative reasons of overriding public interest comprise only a reason or reasons set out in section 177AA(4)( a) to ( c) and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has furnished an opinion that the compensatory measures, or revised or modified compensatory measures as the case may be, are sufficient to ensure that the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected, the Minister shall issue a notice to this effect to the competent authority and the competent authority may decide to grant consent for the proposed development, with or without conditions.

(5) Where—

( a) the Minister forms the opinion that the imperative reasons of overriding public interest comprise or include a reason or reasons other than those in section 177AA(4)( a) to ( c), and

( b) the Minister has obtained the opinion of the Commission in relation to the matter, and

( c) the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has given an opinion that the compensatory measures, or revised or modified compensatory measures as the case may be, are sufficient to ensure that the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected,

the Minister shall issue a notice to this effect to the competent authority, accompanied by a copy of the opinion of the Commission, and the competent authority, only after having considered the opinion of the Commission may decide to grant consent for the proposed development, with or without conditions.

(6) Where—

( a) the Minister forms the opinion that the imperative reasons of overriding public interest comprise or include a reason or reasons other than those in section 177AA(4)( a) to ( c) and the Minister has decided not to seek the opinion of the Commission in relation to the matter, or

( b) the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has given as his or her opinion that the compensatory measures or modified or alternative proposed compensatory measures, as the case may be, are not sufficient to ensure the overall coherence of the Natura 2000 network is protected,

the Minister shall issue a notice to this effect to the competent authority and the competent authority shall not grant consent for the proposed development.

(7) Where the Minister issues a notice under subsection (4) or (5) he or she shall inform the Commission of the matter, including the compensatory measures proposed.

(8) The competent authority shall make available for inspection by members of the public during office hours at the offices of the authority and may also publish on the internet a notice issued to the authority under subsection (6), (7) or (8).”.