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Ministers Calleary and Hackett announces new scheme for creation of native woodland on public land

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D., and Minister of State with responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, today launched a new scheme to fund the creation of new native woodland on public lands. This scheme meets one of the main biodiversity commitments in the Programme for Government and will be funded by the Minister’s Department which will cover the cost of establishing such forests on suitable land in public ownership.

The Scheme is aimed at all Public Bodies, including:

  1. Government Departments and State Sponsored Organisations
  2. Higher Education Authorities and
  3. Local Authorities.

Minister Calleary stated ‘‘Public bodies that engage in this new initiative will be making a strong statement to their customers, industry partners and to the public in general, that they are contributing in a meaningful way to meeting environmental targets. My Department looks forward to engaging with and supporting them in the design and creation of these woodlands.’’

The scheme was approved by Government the end of last month and will commence with a landbank analysis by all public bodies to assess whether they have land suitable for planting.


Minister Hackett said “Native woodlands are an important part of Ireland’s natural heritage, history and culture, and are unique in terms of their biodiversity and habitat creation. This scheme demonstrates this Government’s commitment to improving biodiversity while also putting in place permanent woodland that will capture carbon, can protect water, and will add to our landscapes for many years into the future.”


Iarnród Éireann have stepped forward as the first public body to express an interest in the scheme.

Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann said that “As one of the country’s largest public land custodians, Iarnród Éireann recognises the important role it can play in developing and enhancing our country’s natural capital. With the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, approval to establish a native woodland is now being sought for a site on our land in Co. Roscommon as a pilot under this scheme. We are now actively examining landbank to assess whether other sites may also be suitable for entry into the scheme.”



Notes for Editor:


Further details on the Woodland Creation on Public Lands Scheme can be found at


Native woodlands are an important part of Ireland’s natural heritage, history and culture, and are unique in terms of their biodiversity. They are home to specialised woodland animals, birds, insects and plants, including red squirrel, pine marten, great spotted woodpecker, narrow-leaved helleborine and wood millet, to name but a few. They provide numerous ecosystem services, including carbon capture, the protection and enhancement of water quality, wider habitat linkage, landscape enhancement, opportunities for outdoor recreation and interpretation.

The Woodland Creation on Public Lands Scheme aims to conserve nature by developing permanent, non-commercial woodlands on public land that will deliver the following benefits:

  • Recreation of lost native woodland habitats, rich in biodiversity and cultural significance.
  • Reverse the fragmentation of other habitats and the loss of biodiversity corridors within the wider landscape.
  • Carbon sequestration from forests that will exist in perpetuity.
  • Protection and enhancement of water and associated aquatic ecosystems.
  • Provision of attractive woodland amenities, to promote health and well-being and opportunities for outdoor learning amongst local communities.
  • Enhancing air quality in urban and peri-urban areas.
  • Soil protection and the reclamation of former landfill and brownfield sites.



Funding available is as follows;


Funded activity

Grant rate

  • Thresholds

Element 1

Planting Scenarios 1-3

€6,220 / ha (payable in 2 instalments)


Element 2

Planting Scenarios 4-5

€5,880 / ha (payable in 2 instalments)


Element 3

Trails and Signage

Up to €3,800 / ha

Maximum payable is €45,600

Element 4

Forest Playground

Up to €10,000 per application

Up to €10,000


Derelict Site Grant


€2,500 maximum


 Native woodland on public land

Native woodland on public land




Date Released: 12 August 2020