The number of forestry licences issued has increased by 11%, according to the latest figures provided by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.
The figures came in the minister’s written replies to multiple questions submitted by Tipperary TD Michael Lowry on the subject of forestry licensing.
The minister provided an update on the yearly differences in the number of licences issued for felling, roadways and afforestation.
“There has been an increase of 11% on the number of licences issued this year to date compared to the same period last year. Felling licences are up 18% in the area licensed and 27% for the volume of timber,” Minister McConalogue said.
“To date, 110km of forest roads have been licensed, which is 88% of the commitment given to license 125km of forest roads this year. Finally, the area of afforestation licensed is up by 18% to date at some 2,000ha.
“COFORD (the Council for Forest Research and Development) has forecast that approximately 1.4m cubic metres of private sector roundwood will be ready for harvesting in 2021. We have year-to-date licensed nearly 900,000 cubic metres of private volume,” the minister said.
Lowry requested clarification on the reasons for differences in the clearance rates of private felling licences in comparison to the “nearly 100%” filling of Coillte’s licensing requirements for 2021.
“Coillte chooses to submit its tree felling licence requirement in batches, perhaps once or twice each year, with the intention of utilising the licences for their harvesting programme in a particular year,” the minister responded.