FIE has written to the party leaders asking them to reconsider Irish forestry planting. The letter points out that more than €10,000 a hectare is being given to farmers on the basis of a forestry policy that has no economic future.
Current policy is still based on the 1996 ‘Planting For the Future’, which required planting rates to reach a ‘critical mass’ through a minimum planting rate of 20,000 hectares a year until 2035.
When this policy was reviewed by Peter Bacon in 2004, the minimum planting rate to make the current policy viable was revised downwards to 12,000 hectares a year. The funding available for forestry in 2011 will only be sufficient for 7,000 hectares of new planting - and planting has only reached half of even the lowered 12,000 hectare minimum in the 6 years since the Bacon Report was published.