Council plans levy on farmers’ sheds

A county council is planning to slap a development charge on the construction of farmers’ sheds, for the first time ever.

Currently, four different development contributions schemes operate in Co Kerry which aids roads and other public amenities.

But, with increasing pressure on local authorities to raise funds, a charge by Kerry Co Council for farm construction is meet stiff resistance as well as planned fees for commercial polytunnels and glasshouses.

Planned new houses in “the hub areas” of Killarney and Tralee are also to attract higher levies than town centre properties, in a new six-year plan development plan.

Anyone building an average house in a linked hub area will pay €1,500 plus an extra €12 per square metre on top of the standard €20 euro a square metre elsewhere in the county.

However, “taxing sheds,” in the words of Cllr Maura Healy Rae, is proving controversial. The council is proposing to subject new sheds to a levy of €4.10 a square metre.

Polytunnels and glasshouses and even mushroom tunnels will be subject to the new levy which the council said will go into rural roads serving the sheds.

“These agricultural structures will be subject to the contributions as they are a form of commercial development,” a spokesperson said.

However, individual landowners along with main farmers’ organisations claimed farm traffic did very little damage to roads.

The IFA said the levies will affect employment in the food industry.

Cllr Johnny Healy-Rae said he will oppose the levy, insisting rural roads are in a terrible state and will not get the benefit.

“Most farmers are barely getting by and like myself are keeping it going for the love of it.

“On the one hand, the farmers will be getting grants from the Department of Agriculture for structures and the council will be taking it on the other hand. It just doesn’t make sense.”

The levy on quarries is to rise from 18 cents a tonne to 29 cents, a reported steep rise in a county short of small quarries and sand stone.

The Irish Concrete Federation is opposed and says if the levies are implemented there will be further stone shortages in Kerry.

A range of levies are being proposed for energy, with solar development to be levied at €5,000 a MW; wind at €10,000 a MW and non-renewable sources at €20,000 a MW.

Glamping and camping, meanwhile, is to attract a €1,000 per 0.1 hectare, and a levy for a new caravan park could be €250 a pitch.

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