IFA National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins has welcomed the 20% increase in the length of forest road grand aided under the Forest Road Scheme secured under the Mid-term Review of the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020.
The length is increased from 20m/ha to 25m/ha.
He said, “This is a very important increase; the additional support is needed to support farmers to construct essential infrastructure to access and mobilise timber”.
Mobilising the private forest resource is the biggest challenge facing the sector, Pat Collins explained, “The first step to a farmer realising the economic potential is to construct a forest road to access and harvest the crop.
“The level of construction of forest roads needs to increase significantly if the timber production targets are to be achieved. Forecasts show a doubling of timber production from 4 million m3 to nearly 8 million m3 by 2035, with almost all the increase coming from privately owned, grant aided forests”.
The increase is available to existing applications that have approval for a length of a forest road greater than or equal to 25m/ha with a completion date of on or after 21st February 2018. Farmers must re-apply to the Forest Service to get of the additional grant aid.
The Forest Road scheme grants up to 100% of eligible construction costs subject to a maximum payment of €40 metre and a new maximum of 25 metres per ha. In addition there is a bellmouth allowance of up to 20 metres or €800 per application where a new forest road entrance to the public road is being created or modified.