The issue of financial approvals for forestry planting for the 2013 autumn planting season has been approved.

Making the announcement today, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Tom Hayes TD, said: “I am pleased to announce that my department will immediately commence the process for issuing financial approvals for 1,500 hectares of new forestry planting for the current autumn planting season. This announcement is being made earlier than normal and is in response to a request I received from representatives of the forest industry to open the Scheme early, which I am happy to be able to facilitate.”

Hayes added: “The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme is a demand-led scheme and it is ultimately the decision of the landowner whether he or she wishes to plant trees as there are a number of factors which influence a landowner’s decision to plant. However, it should be acknowledged that, notwithstanding the budgetary pressures that we have been seeking to address over the past number of years, the Government allocated significant funding for the continuation of the forestry programme and there are very financially attractive establishment grants and forestry premium available. I believe that forestry is a land-use option for farmers and landowners that merits serious consideration and the issue of financial approvals for the autumn planting season is an excellent opportunity for them to progress this option.”