Proposed New Forestry Programme 2014-2020 Announced
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes, has announced details on on a proposed new Forestry Programme
29 September 2014
Details on a proposed new Forestry Programme covering the period 2014 – 2020 have been announced by Tom Hayes, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Minister holds responsibility for forestry in his position.
The proposed programme has been released for public consultation, alongside an Environmental Report on this new plan for forestry. Following the public consultation process the proposed Programme will be submitted to the European Commission for approval.
Following talks between Hayes, stakeholders and representative groups, a suite of 11 measures has been put forward. These measures aim to increase forest cover and generate additional supplies of timber and wood biomass to meet the projected increase in demand from the wood processing and renewable energy sectors.
The Minister said that he was “encouraged by the level of engagement by stakeholders so far and was happy to announce that the number of premium payments being proposed is now 15 instead of 12 as set out in the earlier consultation document issued in March 2014”. He added that “this was a significant improvement on what was originally proposed and is particularly noteworthy given that the premium rate has also increased by 10% for the most popular grant category”.
Hayes also signalled a proposed small increase in some grant rates. The plan has been designed to encourage more land owners to invest in forestry with the introduction of two premium payment scales where applications greater than 8 hectares will receive a higher premium and, the inclusion of a single rate of premium for farmers and non farmers to incentivise non farmers to plant trees under the new scheme.