EU rules hamper Irish efforts to plant new trees, says forestry industry body
EU regulations are hampering Irish efforts to boost forestry, the industry warned European officials and politicians at a recent meeting.
The Republic is planting about 2,000 hectares of new forest per year, well below the Government’s target of 8,000.
Forest Industries Ireland (FII) blames increased regulation for the slowdown in planting, which the group predicts will result in the State falling short of its farming and land use climate change targets.
The organisation told EU officials and members of the European Parliament (MEPs) at a meeting in Brussels that EU policies and regulations were hindering the Irish industry’s growth.
Tougher EU environmental regulations are ruling out large tracts of land in the State from commercial tree planting, the FII says.
The meeting, hosted by Colm Markey, MEP for the Midlands-North West, was meant to give the Ibec affiliate an opportunity to outline the challenges facing the industry to European officials and politicians.
FII’s delegation also met DG Clima, Europe’s climate change directorate, and Irish commissioner, Mairead McGuinness, who is responsible for financial stability. Members of her Cabinet and other officials pledged to visit the country in the new year.
FII director Mark McAuley said the regulations left little appetite among farmers for new tree planting. “Farmer confidence is a real issue and lots of potential sites are being rejected under the new land type restrictions,” he said.