Deadline today for submitting feedback on draft forestry bill

The deadline for submitting feedback on the draft of an amendment to the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001 to align forestry licencing and appeals processes closed today (Friday, August 28) at 5:00pm.

Minister of State Pippa Hackett recently opened a consultation for the amendment. Comments were welcomed before the draft bill is presented to the Oireachtas after the summer recess.

AgriLand previously reported that the government is to proceed speedily with the implementation of a number of forestry-related commitments in the Programme for Government, according to deputy Hackett.

Deputy Hackett, who holds responsibility for forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, outlined the measures to be implemented.

These include:
  • A proposal to amend the Agriculture Appeals Act, 2001, to align the forestry licencing and appeals processes with the planning processes;
  • The development of a new scheme for the creation of native woodlands on state and other public lands;
  • The development of a new a portal to enhance public participation in forestry decision-making in Ireland;
  • The appointment of an independent chair, to be identified, to lead the implementation of the MacKinnon report.

The ongoing issue of the felling and afforestation licence backlog has blighted the sector of late; while acknowledging this the minister warned that the issues causing this backlog also need to be solved.

‘No sign of chaos and dysfunction being addressed’

Independent TD Carol Nolan said recently that there is “no sign of the chaos and dysfunction within the forestry felling and licencing system being effectively addressed”.

Deputy Nolan went on to say that the issue has now reached a point where the capacity to maintain employment in the industry is now actively under threat.

Nolan was speaking after receiving a reply to a parliamentary question she had submitted on the matter, following “numerous representations” from tree planting farmers and those within the wider forestry sector.