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Major boost for forest road construction

Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture and Food has announced a major increase in grants for the construction of forest roads.

A new maximum grant of €45 a linear metre is being established. This new grant ceiling takes account of the fact that construction costs have increased significantly over the years since the scheme was established and will ensure that the grant available maintains its relative value. This will be welcome news for forest-owners planning ahead for harvesting: grants cover 80% of the cost of construction and with more and more of the private forest estate reaching maturity, there is a real need to encourage the construction of roads now.

"Growing the trees is only half the job" the Minister said. "We need to be able to access the timber at harvesting time safely and efficiently and that's why I believe it is so important that we invest in these roads."

Minister Wallace reiterated her commitment to maintaining and enhancing the package of incentives available for forestry.

"Afforestation grants have increased in some cases by up to 25% in the last two years, while the annual forestry premium paid to farm foresters is to increase by 15%, with a new maximum payment of up to €574 per hectare per annum. Allied to the possibility of stacking the Single Farm Payment entitlements to a level of 50% where forestry is involved and the opportunities opened up by the new FEPS pilot Scheme, I firmly believe that we have assembled the best ever package for forestry," the Minister said.

"With demand for timber high, and new markets opening every day for wood energy, it had never made more sense to plant trees. We are moving into a new era for agriculture as well as for forestry and I believe that every farmer in this country needs to rethink the potential of forestry for himself and the Community" she said.
26 January, 2007

Date Released: 26 January 2007