Forestry owners whose forestry was affected by the winter storms of 2013/2014 could be in line for compensation.

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has confirmed that a decision on support for reinstating privately owned forests affected by the winter storms of 2013/2014 is expected shortly.

While estimates indicate that less than 1% of the national forest area (approximately 8,000 hectares) has been blown down, the damage has been extensive at a local level, especially in the south and parts of the midlands where substantial quantities of timber have been blown down.

Responding to questioning from Kerry TD Brendan Griffin the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said he was aware of the difficulties that have been created for many forest owners as a result of the storms of 2014.

He said the frequency and ferocity of these storm events, compounded by waterlogged soils on many forest sites, led to extensive damage on both private and State owned forest lands.

The Minister said financial support for reinstating privately owned forests affected by the winter storms of 2013/2014 is currently being considered by the Department.

“A final decision on this matter can be expected shortly,” he said.

Forestry planting programme opens for applications

Farmers and landowners can now apply for financial assistance under the forestry planting programme.

Launching the programme, Minister Tom Hayes said applications are now invited for financial approval under the Afforestation Scheme by applicants with valid technical approvals.

The application period has also been changed, and will no longer be divided between autumn of one year and spring of the following year, he said.

Instead, it is intended that the current period for applications for financial approval will remain open through the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.

However, Hayes added that the end date has yet to be set and this will be determined by the Department of Agriculture with regard to funding, silvicultural and policy considerations.

According to the Minister, the new arrangements have been welcomed by forestry owners and businesses.

“The opening of the planting programme and the decision for it to run into 2016 has been welcomed by forestry companies and I hope that those intending to plant who have their technical approval will proceed to plant,” he said.

Farmers can now apply for the:

  • The forest roads scheme
  • The Woodland improvement scheme (Thinning and tending)
  • The seed stand and seed orchard scheme
  • The neighbourwood scheme