The 20pc increase in the length of forest road grant aided under the Forest Road Scheme has been welcomed by the IFA.
The length is increased from 20m/ha to 25m/ha.
IFA National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins said, “This is a very important increase; the additional support is needed to support farmers to construct essential infrastructure to access and mobilise timber”.
Mobilising the private forest resource is the biggest challenge facing the sector, Pat Collins explained, “The first step to a farmer realising the economic potential is to construct a forest road to access and harvest the crop.
“The level of construction of forest roads needs to increase significantly if the timber production targets are to be achieved. Forecasts show a doubling of timber production from 4 million m to nearly 8 million m by 2035, with almost all the increase coming from privately owned, grant aided forests”.
The increase is available to existing applications that have approval for a length of a forest road greater than or equal to 25m/ha with a completion date of on or after 21 February 2018.
Farmers must re-apply to the Forest Service to get of the additional grant aid.
The Forest Road scheme grants up to 100% of eligible construction costs subject to a maximum payment of €40 metre and a new maximum of 25 metres per ha.
In addition there is a bellmouth allowance of up to 20 metres or €800 per application where a new forest road entrance to the public road is being created or modified.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pat Deering TD, has expressed concern over Coillte’s admission that the state body harvested some landowners’ forests and did not pay them.