Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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362. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken to ensure an adequate supply of fencing is available to farmers in 2023 following the implementation of a ban on creosote timber at the end of March 2023; the impact he believes this will have on the TAMS and ACRES schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12099/23]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The approval and uses of creosote as a wood preservative were recently reviewed under the EU Biocidal Products Regulation. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is the Competent Authority in Ireland with responsibility for this legislation.

The EU review process, which was managed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), resulted in a renewal of approval for creosote that was limited in its scope due to significant concerns, including the carcinogenic potential for humans. This means that there is cancer risk associated with creosote.

Permitted uses were restricted to industrial vacuum pressure impregnation of wood used for railway sleepers, electricity poles and telecommunications poles only.

The renewal Regulation came into force on 1st November 2022 and stipulates that from 30th April 2023 only railway sleepers or utility poles for electricity or telecommunications treated with creosote may be placed on the market in EU Member States.

A derogation to allow for continued use of creosote for treating agricultural and equine fencing is not possible under the regulatory framework.

It should be noted that timber already treated with creosote and sold to end users e.g. farmers before 30th April 2023, can be used after that date. There continues to be a window for the sale and subsequent use of posts treated with creosote.

Timber fencing posts treated with alternative products or manufactured using alternative material can be used in grant-aided fencing in the new €370m TAMS 3.

Everyone recognises that there are challenges associated with this EU regulatory decision. It is not a decision that we sought out or brought to the table. However, it is one that we must deal with and we must work through.

Officials within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have engaged proactively with stakeholders to raise awareness about the restrictions on creosote use and their implications. These efforts are ongoing and whilst there are alternatives available work continues to progress the availability of further alternative wood preservative products.

There are alternatives on the market at present and we will continue to work with industry to ensure more alternatives are brought to market to serve farmers who need them.

Under TAMS 3, sheep fencing will continue to receive grant aid and bovine and equine fencing are included as new investments eligible for support under the scheme. My Department’s specification for fencing will be updated to reflect the changed status of creosote. All timber fencing posts purchased for grant-aided fencing must be treated in accordance with I.S. 436 and certified as such. Furthermore, fencing posts manufactured from steel, plastic and concrete can be used in grant-aided fencing.

There are alternative wood preservative products authorised for use in Ireland and details can be found on my Department’s website (www..


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