IFA Farm Forestry Chairman Vincent Nally said that forest owners affected by the ash dieback disease are furious over the proposed level of support under the draft Ash Dieback scheme.
“The level of supports is completely inadequate to compensate forest owners for the financial loss. It’s obvious that the Department did not meaningfully consider the submissions made during the 2018 consultation.”
“From the outset, the treatment and engagement with forest owners affected by disease, whose investments and pensions have been devastated, has been disappointing”, he said.
He said it’s hardly a surprise the planting programme is in crisis, when the Government responsible for permitting infected plants to be imported, deals with individuals in such a manner.
“Ash dieback has a devastating consequence for the survival, growth and wood quality of ash trees, and therefore has had a knock-on impact on the commercial value of the timber crop.”
“Research suggests where dieback is severe, the best approach is to harvest remaining commercial timber before value depreciation and replant the area with other tree species,” said Mr. Nally.
He said that the any new scheme must support forest owners to replant. That is why IFA is calling for the significant overhaul of the proposed scheme.
“IFA cannot accept a scheme that excludes forest owners affected or significantly reduces the level of support available based on age, height or the extent of the disease,” said Mr. Nally.
IFA is clear on its asks under the new scheme. It must be a fair scheme for all forest owner impacted, that supports them through the following measures:
- A reconstitute grant for all plantations affected by ash dieback.
- A 15-year premium to be paid on replanted land.
- An option not to be replanted under certain circumstances.