Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
177. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in view of the recent storm damage to forests, if he will provide compensation to farmers who are affected confining it to persons who have had over 25% of their forestry knocked in the recent storm; if clear fell licences will be allowed for these farmers if they want a site to clear fell; if a replanting grant will be made available in these special cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12443/14]
The recent storms have indeed been damaging to Irish forests particularly in the south of the country. Early indications suggest however that less than 1% of the forest area and approximately 1% of the forest volume was blown down in the storm of 12 February. Whilst direct financial support is not being provided to those whose forestry was destroyed in the storm, a taskforce, chaired by Mr Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State, has been established to assess the damage nationally and to quickly identify the various issues arising as a result of this severe windblow event and to agree on a course of actions to deal with these issues. The taskforce has issued a guidance note for forest owners, laying down the steps to consider in safely harvesting and selling the fallen trees and giving advice on a range of other associated issues.
Teagasc forestry advisers are available to meet any forest owner in the Teagasc Office for advice. Forest owners are also urged to get professional advice from qualified foresters to guide them through this process. Furthermore, the Forest Service of my Department is also ready to facilitate those wishing to apply for felling licences to deal with the situation in the most appropriate manner. In this regard I would urge forest owners to mark their application ‘Storm Damage’ to allow it to be prioritised by the Forest Service.