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Forestry gets €105m lift

THE value of forestry to the environment, the farming community and the economy was acknowledged by the budget allocation of €105m to ensure a planting programme of at least 7,000ha of new forests this year.

In the total, €9m was given for support schemes, such as roading, thinning and tending and the reconstitution scheme, while €5.5m will aid research and industry development.

The Forest Inventory has also been given funding of €225,000, which will ensure that it can carry out the assessment of the extent and production capability of the national forest estate.

The 4pc increase on last year in cash to forestry planting programmes is welcome and recognises the contribution forestry makes to the economy.

In addition, three working groups have been set up to examine different aspects of state forestry policy, and all three will report to Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith.

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