SEEFA Urges Minister to Unveil Exciting 2024 Forestry Licensing Blueprint

SEEFA Urges Substantial Improvement in Forestry Licensing by 2024 as Afforestation Licences Fall Short

The Social, Economic Environmental Forestry Association of Ireland (SEEFA) has emphasized the urgent need for a significant improvement in forestry licensing in 2024 compared to this year. This statement comes in response to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Forestry Licensing Dashboard, which reveals that only 763 hectares of afforestation licenses have been issued to date in 2023. In contrast, DAFM issued licenses for nearly 5,000 hectares in 2022 and 4,246 hectares in the previous year.

According to the annual data, up until the third week of December, DAFM received 143 afforestation applications this year, with 85 licenses granted. Additionally, there were 890 private felling applications, resulting in just under 1,400 licenses being issued. The department also received 1,078 felling applications from Coillte, the state forestry company, and granted 1,402 licenses in return. In relation to forestry roads, 509 applications were made, with 221 licenses granted so far this year.

These figures clearly demonstrate that the department is falling significantly short of the annual afforestation target of 8,000 hectares outlined in the Climate Action Plan. DAFM has reported that 1,649 hectares of trees have been planted thus far in 2023, compared to the 2,300 hectares planted in 2022.

SEEFA has expressed ongoing concerns regarding the current level of licenses being issued. In a statement, the association emphasized the importance of a well-structured plan to address this issue and has persistently sought the release of the licensing plan. SEEFA stated, “It is imperative that we witness a substantial improvement in 2024 compared to 2023. A well-structured plan is crucial for achieving this, which is why we have persistently sought the release of the licensing plan.”

The association has called on Minister of State with responsibility for forestry, Pippa Hackett, to make the 2024 licensing plan publicly available before the end of the year. SEEFA believes that timely disclosure of this plan will significantly contribute to the envisioned improvements needed for forestry in Ireland.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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