Galway East TD Seán Canney has said that the Forestry Industry is in a “mess” as the number of licences fall far short of the Department of Agriculture own targets for 2021.
He said that this is happening despite an investment in additional resources 4,035 forestry licences were issued by the department of Agriculture Food and the Marine in 2021.
Deputy Canney said that it well-short of the Department’s own soft target of 4,500 for the year, and far below the of 7,000 licences the industry requires.
Of the 4,035 licences issued for 2021, the department issued just 512 (12.5%) for afforestation – permission to plant trees.
“Long delays in granting afforestation licences will see many approved licences fail to convert in to planting as landowners are forced to look at other incomes on their land during the process,” said Deputy Canney.
“I have cases where landowners made a decision to plant their land and have seen no progress or income for more than two years.
“The Government need to grasp this serious issue as a matter of urgency as the supply of native timber is collapsing and farmers are turning away from tree growing due the inordinate delays in granting licences.
“It is my view that the licence system needs to be overhauled and we need to have one licence application to deal with the planting, thinning and felling of trees in order to give certainty to farmers, sawmills and the construction industry.”