Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Felling Licences

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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258. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the awarding of felling licences; the current backlog and waiting times; if he will introduce measures to reduce the waiting times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23451/21]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Department has deployed significant additional resources to address delays in forestry licencing.

To 30thApril, 1,047 new forestry licences have issued this year, which is 11% up on the total number issued to end April, 2020. Across all licence types, improvements in delivery of decisions can be seen compared to the same time last year. Felling licences are up 3% in number issued and 31% for the volume of timber. To date in 2021, my Department has issued felling licences for 2 million cubic metres, which is 40% of the total volume issued last year. To date 93km of forest roads have been licensed, which is 75% of the commitment given to license 125km of forest roads this year. Finally, the area of afforestation licensed is up by 12% to date at 1,862ha.

In addition, my colleague, Minister of State Pippa Hackett, who has responsibility for the sector, has established Project Woodland, to work with stakeholders to examine all aspects of forestry, including a review of processes with a view to reducing the licencing backlog.

I remain hopeful that the framework now in place under Project Woodland will address our current difficulties and will result in a licensing system which meets the needs of forest owners and new applicants.


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