Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
672. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the supports, financial or otherwise available for landowners who wish to return holdings previously committed to forestry and are now outside of their obligations to agricultural holdings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49674/21]
If a landowner wishes to remove trees from land, they must obtain a tree felling licence. Every tree felling licence carries an obligation to replant the felled area.
A landowner wishing to convert afforested land (regardless of whether the trees were planted under a Forestry Scheme), may propose an alternative area of the same size. This alternative area must receive approval to plant, without grant aid, prior to the granting of any tree felling licence.
Forestry is a permanent land use change, and therefore there are no grants to convert afforested land into another agricultural use. The realisation of the timber asset once harvested is considered more than adequate to cover the cost of replanting.
When a site is felled, it will be closely monitored to ensure it is replanted. The Forestry Act 2014 sets out the legislation governing the felling of trees, the licences required, offences and penalties for breaches of the legislation.
It is Government policy to prevent deforestation, which is the permanent removal of forests. Reforestation after felling is essential to prevent deforestation, which would otherwise counteract the social, environmental and economic benefits of Ireland's afforestation programme and devalue the associated public expenditure on afforestation.
The Department’s “Felling and Reforestation Policy” document aims to provide a consolidated source of information on the legal and regulatory framework relating to tree felling.