We need a forestry programme that is both good for Agriculture and the Environment - Martin Kenny TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Food and Marine Martin Kenny TD is calling for Government policy on afforestation to be amended to benefit both agriculture and the environment.
Deputy Kenny said;
“We understand that there is currently a review of the forestry programme taking place and that now is the time for the government to rectify the mistakes of the current programme.
“Sinn Féin would like to see more focus on hardwoods and native species instead of the mono-culture where the landscape is covered with Sitka Spruce. This type of blanket planting while unsightly is not as beneficial to the environment.
“It is well known that the environmental benefits from hardwoods far out way that of Sitka Spruce forests.
“Sinn Féin want to see stricter conditions placed on those receiving the top level of grant aid, namely that it should only be available to a farmer engaged in mixed farming practices that extend beyond forestry.
"We also want to see the farmer should live within a 50km radius of the plantation so that the local economy would also see some benefit from the grant aid.
“There was a pilot programme for Agro Forestry introduced which was limited and had low grant aid. We would like to see this extended with higher levels of forestry grant with premiums for at least 15 years, so that forestry and grazing can work together and provide a mixed income for farmers.
“The Minister for Agriculture has the opportunity here to get a forestry programme that is both good for Agriculture and the Environment.”