Afforestation continues to fall, according to the latest data issued by the Forest Service up to the end of June. New planting first grants amounted to €5.7m compared with €7.1 last year. This translates to 1,936ha of land planted up to the end of June compared with 2,526ha for the first half of 2017, which was a record low.

The planting target this year is over 7,000ha, but it is now likely that a programme of less than 5,000ha will be achieved unless there is a dramatic increase in afforestation before year-end.