atest press release from Cllr Stephen Stokes, issued on Friday, January 20th 2023…
Cllr Stephen Stokes is backing Senator Victor Boyhan’s calls for forestry action.
On January 19th, Senator Boyhan attended a briefing by Minister Charlie McConologue and Minister for State Pippa Hackett, in relation to the forestry crisis, and he raised a number of concerns with the Ministers.
Senator Boyhan and Cllr Stokes are joining foresters and farmers in Wicklow in calling on Government to get forestry back on track.
Senator Boyhan stated: “We need clarity as to the government’s forestry strategy getting approval by the EU Commission. In 2019, the DAFM commissioned a review of the approval processes for afforestation in Ireland; why has this review – the MacKinnon Report – not been fully implemented?”
Cllr Stokes added: “Forestry is a key issue in County Wicklow. Increasing forests will boost our biodiversity and offset carbon. I would like to commend Senator Boyhan for pressing for positive solutions.”
Foresters and farmers are calling on Government to take five important initiatives, all of which Senator Victor Boyhan raised.
1. Reform the licensing system to reduce bureaucracy and bring an end to long delays. 2. Forestry programme schemes need to be simplified. 3. Increase forestry grants and premiums to provide for economic options for farmers and landowners and drive up the afforestation rate. 4. Payments for ecosystem services, such as enhancing biodiversity, habitats and sequestering carbon, will provide additional incentive for woodland creation. 5. Make land avail which is a core issue in increasing afforestation.
Senator Victor Boyhan added: “What we need is a sustainable forestry sector, one that can deliver on commercial, climate and biodiversity goals and one that would contribute to a reduction in the volume of imported timber.”
Cllr Stokes concluded: “Working to enhance trees and and biodiversity should be a priority.
“Wicklow is in a great position to lead in this area, if resources are made available.”
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