Thursday, 17 November 2022
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
324. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied that the existing inspection programmes concerning maintenance of forests is adequate, given that the increasing incidents of falling trees are resulting in power outages and are causing serious problems for communities over large areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57246/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 324 and 323 together.
Under the forestry schemes run by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, safe corridor widths for tree planting near power lines have been agreed with the ESB.
These corridor widths are set out in Section 7-Overhead Power Lines, of the Forestry Standards Manual.
The corridor widths are based on overhead powerline voltage. Unplanted corridors range from a requirement to carry out clearance of branches and tree tops for low voltage lines to a 74 m unplanted corridor for a 400kv line. Compliance with this is inspected by the Forestry Inspectors as part of their scheme compliance assessment.
The Forestry Standards Manual (2015) is currently being reviewed and updated as part of the new Forestry Programme and as part of that process my Department will be consulting with the ESB on section 7 and will be advised accordingly of any proposed changes.
I will ensure that your concerns form part of the consideration of any amendments to our procedures in this regard.