The backlog of forestry applications has been almost halved in the past year from 6,100 licence applications outstanding in August 2021 to 3,581 earlier this month, the Cabinet has heard.
Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan also told Cabinet colleagues that appeal cases outstanding had almost eliminated, down from almost 1,000 last year to just 20 as of now.
Mr Ryan briefed Ministers on progress being made in increasing afforestation in Ireland. He was speaking on behalf of his Green Party colleague Pippa Hackett, the Minister of State for Forestry. *
The Green Party leader said licensing was over 50 per cent higher than 2020 with more than 4,000 licences compared with 2,600 in 2020.
“The licensing plan for 2022 targets a 30 per cent increase in licensing output this year with a target of 5,250 licences between harvesting, thinning, roads and planting,” he said.
He also disclosed that Ms Hackett’s department is implementing an additional initiative to facilitate the planting of small areas of native trees of up to 1 hectare in size as part of a scheme without the requirement for a licence.
He said it was intended to hold a standalone event to launch the small-scale native planting scheme this winter.
A new forestry programme to 2030 will also be launched later this year.
* This article was amended on September 1st, 2022 to remove an incorrect reference to Ms Hackett not attending the meeting.