Second interim report on Project Woodland
Minister Hackett notes progress in second interim report on Project Woodland
Expects Regulatory Review to be completed by February
Says a National Attitudinal Survey on Forestry about to commence
Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister with responsibility for forestry today received the second interim report on the implementation of Project Woodland.
The report, prepared by the Project Board, confirmed that that the Department of Agriculture , Food and the Marine is proceeding with a full regulatory review of forestry licencing to be conducted by external consultants, Philip Lee. The review is expected to be submitted in February 2022.
The report also noted progress on both the proposals on pre-application discussion and the planning grant. The work on the next Vision and Strategy for Irish forestry was also reported to be making good progress with a national attitudinal survey on forestry abut to commence and the community-based outreach through National Rural Network already underway.
Commenting on the update, the Minister said:
“I am happy to see solid progress being made because it is essential, if we are to reform the design and delivery of woodland creation in Ireland, that Project Woodland succeeds. The importance of us planting more trees and forests has been brought into sharp focus this week with the ongoing of COP26 negotiations and the upcoming delivery of the Climate Action Plan. It is simply the case that woodland creation must be central to our land-based climate and biodiversity solutions.
Speaking also about the numbers of licenses which have been issued by her Department since the last interim report was issued, the Minister continued:
“I note some real progress has been made since the last interim report in July not least the significant improvement in licencing output since then. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued an average of 118 new licences each week since end-August which is very welcome. This year will see the highest ever volume of timber licenced for harvest. I am equally aware though that the progress is not equal and that an urgent uplift in afforestation licencing is needed. My Department will soon be producing its projections for licencing for the first half of 2022.
The Minister concluded that “I want to acknowledge the efforts and contribution of all stakeholders in Project Woodland as well as that of the staff of my Department and of course the members of the Project Board. This is not easy work but we are making real progress and will continue to do so. It's important that the Interim Report formally acknowledges this as it has done and also highlights the priorities for future work. It is only through this collaborative approach from all concerned will we reform this area and make woodland creation the priority policy and driver of our future environmental and economic needs”.
Read the PRESS RELEASE / download a copy of the report on gov.ie