IFA Farm Forestry Chairman Vincent Nally encouraged forest owners to attend an online meeting with Minister Pippa Hackett to discuss the newly-launched Project Woodland, the plan to improve the delivery of forestry licences.
It’s on tomorrow evening (Thurs) at 7.30pm.
Farmers will get the chance to hear directly from Minister Pippa Hackett and Jo O’Hara, former CEO Scottish Forestry and author of the report.
“This is a priority for forest owners who have been waiting, in some instances for years, to get a licence to manage their forests. With the number issued in February down 22% on January, farmers are very worried they will not get a licence to manage their forest and will be unable to realise its commercial value,” he said.
Last month, a total of 272 forest licences were issued compared with 349 in January. Of those, 168 issued to the private sector and 104 issued to Coillte. The breakdown to the private sector is as follows: 48 afforestation licences; 66 forest road licences; and 54 felling licences.
He said considering the additional resources that have already been allocated, this is still well below what is required by the sector, particularly in light of the 4,500 accumulated in the system.
“For the plan to work for farmers with forestry, it’s essential that the costs and bureaucracy associated with planting and managing are significantly reduced. An immediate action must be the introduction of a piloted environmental planning grant to ensure equity across applicant type and to provide much-needed support to farmers that want to manage their forests”.