The proposed suspension of the planting of new hedgerows for the second GLAS tranche is in part due to concerns about the availability of planting stock, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.

Speaking in the Dail the Minister confirmed he is proposing to suspend the planting of new hedgerows and traditional orchards for the second GLAS tranche.

He said both actions have met their targets for the entire RDP and added there are concerns about the availability of planting stock.

“I will, however, review this in the third tranche.

“Most of the concern I have heard is about the planting of hedgerows,” he said.

The Minister said under the first tranche, so far 8m plants have been ordered.

“Our contacts with the forestry service and relevant nurseries indicate they will have serious difficulty supplying even the quantity of planting stock in the timeframe required for the tranche one applicants.

“We are changing the hedgerow option for practical reasons. First, we have already met the target for that item for the whole of GLAS in tranche one.

“Second, our industry has real problems even with our current commitments as opposed to opening an entire new tranche on it.

“In other words, to solve this problem we would need to import huge volumes of trees, which is a disease risk and a concern so we are taking a practical approach here.

“From an environmental point of view, we have already met and surpassed our targets on this. Our nurseries have reached capacity and are already stretched to deliver on tranche one,” he said.