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December 2, 2009
For immediate release

Changes Announced to the Prince Edward Island Lands Protection Act

Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour

The Honourable Carolyn Bertram, Minister responsible for the Prince Edward Island Lands Protection Act, today announced amendments to the Lands Protection Act Regulations to allow the exclusion of areas set aside for environmental protection reasons. Under the amendments, landowners will not have to include such areas in their total land holdings.

“These exclusions will help to strengthen land use planning in the province and support landowners in adopting improved land use management practices,” said Minister Bertram. “Government is pleased to respond to requests from the agriculture industry and other groups to allow for such exclusions.”

Under the amendments, landowners will be able to exempt qualifying environmentally significant areas from their total land holdings. These are areas such as wetlands, high sloped lands, land under erosion control structures, hedgerows, grassed headlands, forested land and buffer zones. Landowners will be eligible to exempt up to 40 per cent of their total aggregate holdings. Under the Lands Protection Act, individuals are restricted to total land holdings of 1,000 acres and corporations are restricted to 3,000 acres.

“These amendments will provide additional incentives to landowners to improve their stewardship practices,” said Agriculture Minister George Webster. “It will reduce the pressure on environmentally sensitive land and enable producers to make the most of their usable holdings.” He said the measure will especially benefit those individuals and corporations who are at or near their allowable land limits.

“This measure will help to further protect environmentally sensitive lands while respecting the rights of landowners,” said Environment, Energy and Forestry Minister Richard Brown. “By allowing landowners to exempt such areas from their holdings, it will contribute to improvements in the quality of our soil, air, and water resources and promote increased biodiversity.”

Ministers said their respective departments will be working closely with one another and with landowners across the province to implement the new amendments.

“Land is our most important natural resource, and its protection for present and future generations is a priority shared by Islanders and their government,” said Minister Bertram.


Amendments to the Lands Protection Act

The Government of Prince Edward Island is amending the Lands Protection Act in order to give landowners added incentive to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

Under the Lands Protection Act as it now stands, no person is allowed to have a land holding (including owned and rented lands) in excess of 1,000 acres and no corporation is allowed to have a land holding in excess of 3,000 acres. Because of changes in farming on Prince Edward Island, a number of farmers and corporations are at or near their allowable total acreage.

The amendments to the Lands Protection Act will create exemptions for property that has been set aside for environmental protection reasons. Lands that meet the qualifications of the amended regulations will not be counted against the owner or tenants total holdings for the purposes of the Lands Protection Act.

The amendments would allow an individual or corporation to hold sensitive lands equivalent to 40 per cent of their allowed total (400 acres for an individual, 1200 acres for a corporation); of that protected land, a maximum of 80 per cent can be forest (320 acres for an individual, 960 acres for a corporation.)

Lands eligible for exemption from the Lands Protection Act would include high sloped lands, wetlands, permanent grassed headlands, erosion-control structures and buffer zones along watercourses and wetlands.

Land that is required to be used as a buffer under the Environmental Protection Act will be counted as exempt acreage when calculating an individual or corporation’s total holdings.

Media Contact: Autumn Tremere
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