The interim ash dieback scheme does not compensate farmers for the loss of timber earnings, Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) farm forestry chair Jason Fleming has said.
He said the lack of recognition in the interim ash dieback scheme for the significant financial loss incurred by farmers is a serious blow to those whose ash woodlands have been devastated by this disease.
“The increased clearance and grant rates announced under the interim scheme are positive developments and reflect the increased cost of getting the work done, but the scheme does not compensate farmers for the loss of timber earnings,” he said.
Under the interim scheme, the site clearance grant rate has increased to €2,000 and grant rates are in line with the new forestry programme 2023-2027.
Applicants whose sites are still in premium will continue to receive this for the remaining years, the IFA said, but will be eligible for a premium top-up to the new rate of the forest type established.
Fleming said consecutive ministers have failed to fully appreciate the devastation caused by the disease and the severe financial cost to farmers.
“These farmers have been left with nothing. Until the Government acknowledges the financial loss and provides compensation to farmers by reinstating a 20-year premium on the replanted land, we will never see farmers planting at the rates required to meet our climate targets,” he said.