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Indecision within the Forestry Service could lead to contract losses – Fitzmaurice

Indecision within the Forestry Service could lead to contract losses – Fitzmaurice

The level of indecision within the Forestry Service section of the Department of Agricultural, Food and the Marine is in danger of leading to Irish companies and forest owners losing out on valuable contracts, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

Speaking on the matter, he said: “I have been contacted by a number of forest owners who applied for felling licences, but who have been left frustrated by the level of indecision and lack of progress made on their applications.

“These applications have been submitted over a year ago. But applicants are being told that their submissions are being held up due to a backlog in the workload for ecologists.

“Having spent the past three months liaising with the Forest Service on these particular applications, they have not progressed from the ecologists’ desk.

“And these are not isolated incidents. It appears as if the forestry sector is being suffocated by crippling indecision, as well as dealing with significant numbers of objections to proposed plantations.

“But the sad reality of the matter is that if felling licences continue to be held up as they are at the moment, then companies and forest owners will lose out on valuable contracts. This could also have a very negative impact on jobs.

“The minister needs to review operations within the Forestry Service to see if processes can be streamlined and if resources can be improved or increased.

“The Government’s climate action plan noted a target of 8,000ha of new forestry to be planted annually. But that target will remain a dream if the required changes aren’t made,” Fitzmaurice said.

Michael Fitzmaurice TD 086-1914565