Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has published a draft National Landscape Strategy for Ireland 2014-2024.
The National Landscape Strategy will be used to ensure that Ireland complies with the European Landscape Convention as ratified by Ireland in 2002. The Strategy will also establish principles for protecting and enhancing the landscape while positively managing its change. It will provide a high-level policy framework to achieve balance between the management, planning and protection of the landscape.
The strategy contains six core objectives. They are:
• To recognise landscapes in law
• To develop a National Landscape Character Assessment
• To develop landscape policies
• To increase landscape awareness
• To identify education and training needs
• To strengthen public participation
The core objective of the Strategy is to allow for the sustainable management of “change” and is not about the “freezing” of the landscape at a particular point in its continuing evolution while anticipating and managing challenges between present and emerging land uses.
Minister Deenihan said: “I am delighted to announce that the government has approved this draft National Landscape Strategy. One of the main objectives of the strategy will be to achieve greater consistency in decision-making across the country when dealing with landscape issues.” The Minister added: “Landscape needs to be addressed with an inclusive, cross-sectoral approach to ensure its sustainable management. This Strategy sets the foundation for this into the future.”
The primary role of planning authorities and the consultative roles of other bodies in relation to issues governed by the provisions of the Planning & Development Acts are not affected. The Strategy will be subject to screening for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Screening (AA) as required.