Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
485. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications received by the Forest Service for planting approval in 2017, 2018 and to the end of June 2019, by county in tabular form; the average amount of time to assess these applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37168/19]
The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme is a voluntary, demand-led scheme under the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020. It is open to land owners considering afforesting all or part of their land to apply.Applications for afforestation are carefully assessed by officials of my Department. The application process provides for 30 days for public consultation. In addition to this, applications are referred to public bodies for their input. Up to eight weeks is provided for a response from these referral bodies. Responses and submissions are reviewed as part of the overall assessment of the application. As such, a decision cannot be made within the first 30 days or where a response is awaited from the relevant public body.
While there is a national target for the amount of land to be afforested each year, there are no regional or county targets. The table below shows the number of applications for the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme received in 2017, 2018 and to 30thJune, 2019 for each county. The average time taken to assess these applications is 18 weeks.