12-month forestry application delays ‘unacceptable’ – IFA

Concerns that some farmers are waiting “in excess of 12 months” for a decision on their application has been described as “unacceptable” by a farm lobby group’s forestry spokesperson.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) national farm forestry chairman, Vincent Nally, has said that farmers are “at breaking point” with the delays and additional costs associated with getting grants or licences approved.

Nally has said that “the current system is not working for farmers”. He called on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to address the reasons behind the delays, which – he believes –  are predominantly related to “lack of personnel in archaeology and ecology”.

It is essential that those farmers who plant their land have a positive experience as they enter into active management of their forest.

The national farm forestry chairman also stressed that communication with farmers must also be improved, particularly when applications are delayed.

He said that the request for supplementary documentations or reports, in some instances over six months after the application has been submitted, is “infuriating farmers when they would have expected a decision on their application”.

Information meeting

In light of ongoing concerns among landowners involved in forestry, the IFA is hosting an information meeting with the Forest Service on Thursday, June 27, at 2:00pm in the Irish Farm Centre.

At the meeting, farmers will have an opportunity to get an update on the application process, including the changes to the appropriate assessment procedures and natura impact assessment requirements.

Concluding, Nally encouraged all farmers with forestry to attend the information meeting and take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the Forest Service in relation to their application.