A farm owner in Limerick has received a letter of intent from Limerick County Council stating that their land will be put on the vacant site register.
In the letter, sent earlier this year and seen by the Irish Farmers Journal, it states that “your site is considered to be vacant…The Planning Authority therefore proposes to enter the site onto the Vacant Site Register”.
Up to 15 local authorities have failed to remove farmland from the vacant site register, despite Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy confirming in the Dáil that “if farmland is in productive use, it should not be included”.
Limerick County Council has told the Irish Farmers Journal that currently “there are no sites on the vacant site register” and that “it is important to stress that no decision has been made in relation to the levy”. The farm owner is yet to receive formal confirmation from the council that their land will not be placed on the register, and has been told that they can appeal the decision through An Bord Pleanála.
The impact of the cost and stress this has caused farmers in terms of time and legal fees has been highlighted as an issue by the IFA, which insists that active farmland should not be put on the register.
“The farmers shouldn’t have to incur the cost of appealing a decision made by the county council with An Bord Pleanála,” regional development officer with the Limerick IFA Denis Griffin stated.