In accordance with European and national law, the Department is currently undertaking Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the National Broadband Plan – Intervention Strategy.
SEA is a process by which environmental considerations are integrated into the preparation of plans and programmes prior to their completion. It derives from Directive 2001/42/EEC which has been transposed into Irish law through the European Communities Environmental Assessment of Certain Plans and Programmes Regulations (S.I. 435 of 2004 as amended by S.I. 200 of 2011) and the Planning and Development (Strategic Environmental Assessment) Regulations (S.I. 436 of 2004 as amended by S.I. 201 of 2011). As part of this process the Department has commissioned an environmental report to assess the environmental impacts the Intervention Strategy is likely to have, and proposes measures to mitigate any such impacts.
The EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) obliges member states to undertake an 'appropriate assessment' (AA) for any plan or project which may have a likely significant effect on the protection, conservation and management of the habitats and species of conservation interest in all European Sites which include Special Areas of Conservation, designated under the Habitats Directive and Special Protection Areas, designated under the EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EC). The provisions of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), as they pertain to the Intervention Strategy have been transposed into Irish law through the Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations, 2011 (S.I. 477 of 2011). The Department has commissioned a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) as part of the AA process to ascertain if the Intervention Strategy could significantly impact on any site designated for conservation. The NIS also proposes measures to mitigate any adverse impacts.
The purpose of this consultation was to invite observations on both these reports and how the findings should be integrated into the Intervention Strategy itself. An updated Intervention Strategy will be published shortly after the consultation concludes, factoring in the findings of the SEA and NIS, and also any relevant submissions received during the consultation.
The Department also used this opportunity to consult on the 2017 High Speed Broadband map. You can read about the map update and also more detail on the SEA report and NIS in the consultation overview document, available below. The full SEA Environmental Report, NIS and the Intervention Strategy are also available below.
This consultation closed on the 9 February 2018 at 5.00pm.