IFA Farm Forestry Chairman Vincent Nally said that immediate action is required by the Government to address the crisis in the forest sector.
“It’s very precarious at the moment. It has hit a major roadblock and unless licences start to issue, the contractors and foresters that are vital to the management of the forest resource will not survive.”
Vincent Nally said the time for excuses is over, the Department needs to start issuing licences.
“This crisis is costing farmers hugely, they are unable to harvest their timber and many are being forced into a non-management situation, which means they will not be able to realise any income from their investment until they clearfell,” he said.
IFA has tried to work with the Department at all stages and recognises the work that has been done in recent months to update the Appropriate Assessment Procedures (AAP), but we need to see the issuing of licences.
Farmers needs licences, the sector needs licences, it cannot function without licences. One blockage that could be addressed immediately by Government is the increasing costs and conditions imposed by local authorities under the planning process.
“This could be resolved if Section 8 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018, which would exempt the construction of forest roads from the planning process, was triggered,” said Mr. Nally.
He said that this has not been done when the sector is in such a crisis clearly shows the Government’s disregard for forest owners, the forest industry and the Climate Action Plan.