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Wallace Announces EU Approval Of Ireland's Forest Management Measure

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibility for Forestry, today announced the approval by the EU Commission of Ireland's Forest Management Measure for the period 2007-2013.

Minister of State Wallace commented, "I am pleased to announce the approval by the EU Commission of the remaining elements of our Forestry Programme for the period 2007-2013. While the Afforestation Programme itself was approved last month, approval has now been received for the Forest Management Measure. Approval of this measure provides a basis for support for forest infrastructure (including road grants); restructuring of older forests; woodland improvement schemes (including shaping and pruning); and forest protection and reconstitution. In tandem with encouraging landowners to plant new forestry, I am seeking to ensure that the needs of existing forestry owners are addressed".

The primary focus of the Forest Management Measure is the improvement and enhancement of existing forests. The new forest infrastructure scheme, incorporates the forest roads scheme but will also provide a basis, for the first time, for a range of other infrastructural and recreational needs, for example, cycle trails. The woodland improvement schemes, will promote the pruning, shaping and in certain cases, thinning of established forests. Supports will also be available in certain circumstances for forest protection and reconstitution. Support for the restructuring of older forests to improve their biodiversity function was also covered by the approval.

The Minister of State added "Now that approval has been received from the EU, I look forward to launching some of the key schemes as soon as possible while the detail of other schemes will be developed in consultation with the sector".

She pointed out that this element of the new forestry programme, like the afforestation grant and premium scheme, would be wholly funded from the Exchequer and would no longer be dependent on EU funding.

Minister of State Wallace reiterated that farmers should give serious consideration to forestry as a land use option as "not only is there aid of up to 100% available for establishment of forests, but also a comprehensive range of schemes, such as the forest roads scheme and woodland improvement schemes, to assist the forestry owner to maximise the return from his/her crop".

22 October, 2007

Date Released: 22 October 2007