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Minister Wallace announces re-opening of Native Woodland Scheme and Neighbourwood Scheme

Mary Wallace TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has today announced the reopening of the Native Woodland Scheme and also the NeighbourWood Scheme under the new Forestry Programme 2007-2013.

Announcing the NeighbourWood Scheme, Minister Wallace emphasised the unique nature of this scheme. "The NeighbourWood Scheme is aimed at developing 'close to home' woodland amenities for local people to visit and enjoy on a regular basis," the Minister said. The scheme provides funding to local authorities and others to improve existing woodlands, to develop new woodlands and to install recreational facilities. A key feature of this scheme is that projects are developed in partnership with local communities and recreational users. "I would encourage people to look for the opportunities to establish NeighbourWoods in their own areas and then bring a proposal to the Forest Service of my Department," Minister Wallace said.

Turning to the Native Woodland Scheme, the Minister said she wanted to highlight the importance of our native woodlands, a key component of Ireland's biodiversity representing a unique community of plants and animals. The Native Woodland Scheme aims protect and expand Ireland's native woodlands by providing funding to landowners to carry out necessary works in existing native woodlands and to establish new native woodlands. "The Native Woodland Scheme has been developed through a unique partnership involving the Forest Service of my Department, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Heritage Council working together with 'Woodlands of Ireland' and other organisations and stakeholders," Minister Wallace said. "We are committed to securing a vibrant future for Ireland's native woodland resource and I am delighted to be able to reopen this innovative scheme."

Details of both schemes Terms and Conditions will be available shortly on www.agriculture.gov.ie/forestservice.

19 December 2007

Date Released: 19 December 2007