DEAR SIR: Farmers and land owners who are suffering significant losses due to the importation of plants infected with Hymenoschyphus Fraxineous (Ash dieback), something that the Department of Agriculture had a responsibility to prevent, are being forced to apply for the reconstitution and underplanting scheme (RUS).
By failing to introduce a fair compensation scheme which will cover the cost of clearing the affected plantations and provide an income over the next 20 years while replacement trees are growing, the Department is treating these people with complete contempt.
It is sickening to see absolute frustration causing increasing numbers to apply for a scheme that is of little or no real benefit to them.
Farmers need to be aware that once they accept any assistance under this scheme, they are ensuring that they will never be eligible for the compensation that is their right.
No one is permitted to remove their dead and dying trees without a felling licence unless they sign up for the RUS. It is taking two years to get a felling licence.
The subsidy towards clearance in RUS is only a fraction of the actual cost and ignores the added health and safety risk involved.
The RUS does not cover the total removal of ash trees, which is essential.
I urge all affected by ash dieback to reconsider their options. Everyone who applies for the RUS is undermining our efforts to get a better deal for them. Of course, they must do what they consider is best for them. There is universal recognition that they deserve a better deal.
Instead of giving in and accepting crumbs falling from the table, I ask people to row in behind our efforts. Get in touch with us and learn how we are progressing on behalf of all tree growers.
LTWO Ltd is in partnership with the Forest Owners Cooperative Society (FOCS) and has a representative member on one of the project woodland four groups.