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Gildernew achieves Assembly agreement to Forestry Bill

26 May, 2010 - by Westminster

Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has secured the final approval of the Assembly to important new legislation on forestry.

Following general debate and a vote on the Bill on Tuesday, the Final Stage of the Forestry Bill was secured in the Assembly.

Speaking about the Bill, the Minister said: “It is over fifty years since the last Forestry Act, and this one could very well last as long. I believe we have struck the right balance in the crucial amendments to the Bill agreed at Consideration Stage, and that the Bill was positively developed in a spirit of co-operation. We now have a very good and modern piece of legislation – flexible, balanced and completely fit for purpose”.

In moving the Forestry Bill, the Minister formally thanked the Chair, Vice-Chair and Members of the Committee for their extensive consideration of the Bill and for the publication of their comprehensive report. The Minister also added her thanks to the wide range of stakeholders for their positive involvement and constructive comments and advice during the various stages of the Bill.

Speaking after today’s debate in the Assembly the Minister said: “The final approval of the Forestry Bill today in the Assembly is a milestone for the future development of our forestry sector. I am confident that the powers in the Forestry Bill will address my Department’s contemporary and evolving commercial, environmental and social objectives for forestry and will allow us to obtain better value from the forest estate”.

The Minister concluded: “The Forestry Bill is an excellent example of a devolution in action. We have all played our part from my Department to the Assembly Committee, with my own input. Working together to achieve consensus on a balanced, robust and significant piece of legislation. I want to thank the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee for their informed and constructive input.

“I look forward to continuing this work with the Committee on the two further Bills, which I hope to introduce to the Assembly next year, on Welfare of Animals and Dog Control. The Forestry Bill will now proceed to become law and an implementation timetable will be agreed.”

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