Forestry appeals committee in place after court action
Committee finally gets green light eight months after set-up deadline
Farmers have faced delays in getting licence approvals for tree plantations due to a failure by the Department of Agriculture to put a forestry appeals committee in place until recently, it has emerged.
The President of the High Court was extremely critical of the delays in setting up the important facility by the Department of Agriculture in a case involving a forestry plantation that came before it last week.
The delay is also at odds with the Government's drive to increase forestry planting as they face increasing pressure and potential future fines over greenhouse gas emissions.
Seimié Hagan, regional manager for forestry firm Green Belt in the midlands, said they had faced delays in getting approval for planting in instances where there were objections lodged. "We have been waiting for the committee since May of last year, that is the sort of crazy stuff we are dealing with," he said.
"Now we have to put up a site notice so it is leading to people objecting to plantations when they are not even in the locality.
"There wasn't anyone to deal with the appeals. We plant 35pc of the land in the country so naturally we were as affected as anyone else by it. We had contacted the department looking for it to be set up."
It is understood that the committee should have been set up last May.
However, it is only in recent days following a court case that Agriculture Minister Michael Creed announced the appointment of Bart Brady as chair of the new Forestry Appeals Committee (FAC).