Requirements for new forestry plantations are too strict and lack flexibility - IFA
The IFA has expressed concern that draft environmental requirements for new forestry plantations are too strict and lack flexibility.
At a meeting with the Minister of State Andrew Doyle last week, IFA president Joe Healy and the association's forestry chairman Pat Collins highlighted issues such as the requirement for a 20m planting setback on sloping ground beside waterways, and the 5m setback from drains in areas deemed environmentally sensitive.
Mr Healy said the 1,600ha that farmers set aside for biodiversity and landscape planting in 2015 should also qualify for the forestry premium. "If a farmer is obligated to set aside over 15pc for biodiversity they must receive a premium payment on the additional area," said Mr Healy.
Pat Collins pointed out that Irish plantations were typically small scale. "Rather than introducing a one-size-fits-all approach, it is more appropriate that potential impacts are identified and measures adopted in plans that are specific to the site," he argued.