The IFA has organised an online meeting with Minister of State Pippa Hackett to discuss the newly launched Project Woodland, the plan to improve the delivery of forestry licences.

The meeting will take place on Thursday at 7.30pm and farmers will get the chance to hear directly from Minister Hackett and former CEO Scottish Forestry and author of the report Jo O’Hara.

Last month, a total of 272 forest licences were issued compared with 349 in January. Of those, 168 issued to the private sector and 104 issued to Coillte.

The breakdown to the private sector is as follows:

  • 48 afforestation licences.
  • 66 forest road licences.
  • 54 felling licences.
  • Reduce bureaucracy

    IFA farm forestry chair Vincent Nally said considering the additional resources that have already been allocated, this is still well below what is required by the sector, particularly in light of the 4,500 accumulated in the system.

    “This is a priority for forest owners who have been waiting, in some instances for years, to get a licence to manage their forests.

    “With the number issued in February down 22% on January, farmers are very worried they will not get a licence to manage their forest and will be unable to realise its commercial value.

    “For the plan to work for farmers with forestry, it’s essential that the costs and bureaucracy associated with planting and managing are significantly reduced.”

    The IFA has called for the introduction of a piloted environmental planning grant to ensure equity across applicant type and to provide much-needed support to farmers that want to manage their forests.

    The registration details for the meeting are available here.