A final report on the first phase of the national land use review is due to be completed in the third quarter (Q3) of this year, according to Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan.

The Programme for Government committed to a land use review following a request from the Green Party.

It aims to ensure that optimal land-use options inform all relevant government decisions.

The review is being jointly overseen by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

An update on the progress of the project was recently sought by Senator Victor Boyhan from Minister Ryan. The independent representative urged for the review to be completed as soon as possible.

Land use review

The first phase of the review, ‘evidence gathering’, is being managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It began in the second quarter of 2021 and is focussed on four aspects of land use: People, policy, indicators and suitability.

“The EPA also has a central role in setting out the evidence base to assist in determining an appropriate approach to land use in Ireland, including the environmental, ecological and economic characteristics of land types,” Minister Ryan said.

The first phase of the review included a national call for expert evidence to assist the process.

By the closing date of February 4, 24 different organisations had submitted 299 pieces of evidence.

“These submissions and the evidence being gathered through commissioned research will inform the final report due this Q3,” the minister added.

Once this has been completed, a second phase of the review will commence which will consider policies, measures and actions in the context of the government’s wider economic, social and climate objectives.

It will also connect the evidence that has been gathered with government policies and frameworks such as the Climate Action Plan, Project Woodland and the National Planning Framework.