Forestry

FIE has called the current review of the Forestry Acts a 'sham' after an Open Meeting organised by the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise yesterday. At a meeting whose attendance included representatives of the industry, the IFA, Local Authorities, Teagasc, and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department admitted that the 1988 Forestry Act which established Coillte Teo was not to be reviewed. Only the 1946 Act is to be redrafted.

The 1988 Act established Coillte Teo as the State Forestry Board and made its principal objective 'to carry on the business of forestry on a commercial basis.'

'We have promised the United Nations Forum on Forestry and the European Commission that we are going to practise 'sustainable forestry'. But sustainable forestry requires equal consideration of social and environmental factors with commercial ones. We can not do this if the principle objective of Coillte Teo remains commercial.'

FIE warned that 'a great many people around the country are going to be very very angry when they discover that this review is not going to address the issue of Coillte Teo.'

FIE has called the current review of the Forestry Acts a 'sham' after an Open Meeting organised by the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise yesterday. At a meeting whose attendance included representatives of the industry, the IFA, Local Authorities, Teagasc, and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department admitted that the 1988 Forestry Act which established Coillte Teo was not to be reviewed. Only the 1946 Act is to be redrafted.

The 1988 Act established Coillte Teo as the State Forestry Board and made its principal objective 'to carry on the business of forestry on a commercial basis.'

'We have promised the United Nations Forum on Forestry and the European Commission that we are going to practise 'sustainable forestry'. But sustainable forestry requires equal consideration of social and environmental factors with commercial ones. We can not do this if the principle objective of Coillte Teo remains commercial.'

FIE warned that 'a great many people around the country are going to be very very angry when they discover that this review is not going to address the issue of Coillte Teo.'

As a contribution to National Tree Week, the Forest Network Newsletter has published a Review which exposes Coillte Teo.'s, the State Forestry Board's, claim that hardwoods can not be grown commercially in Ireland.

The Review is of a paper given to the Irish Farmer's Association late last year which claims that growing oak would cost the company €205 a year per hectare. Sitka spruce, however, a timber too low grade to even be used in construction, is given as making the company €101 a year per hectare.

It is complete and absolute nonsense to claim that broadleaves have no commercial value, and yet this is the position of the State Forestry Board, the Irish Forest Service and the Minister for Agriculture - all based on successive Reports to the Minister, the last being by well-known economist Peter Bacon.

Read this clear and clinical demolition of Coillte's misrepresentations and arrant nonsense.

Review of the Phillip's Report

The Phillip's Report

As a contribution to National Tree Week, the Forest Network Newsletter has published a Review which exposes Coillte Teo.'s, the State Forestry Board's, claim that hardwoods can not be grown commercially in Ireland.

The Review is of a paper given to the Irish Farmer's Association late last year which claims that growing oak would cost the company €205 a year per hectare. Sitka spruce, however, a timber too low grade to even be used in construction, is given as making the company €101 a year per hectare.

It is complete and absolute nonsense to claim that broadleaves have no commercial value, and yet this is the position of the State Forestry Board, the Irish Forest Service and the Minister for Agriculture - all based on successive Reports to the Minister, the last being by well-known economist Peter Bacon.

Read this clear and clinical demolition of Coillte's misrepresentations and arrant nonsense.

Review of the Phillip's Report

The Phillip's Report
December 2005
Ms Caroline Lewis,
Director,
Friends Of The Irish Environment,
Allihies,
Co. Cork.

RE: APPLICATIONS FOR AFFORESTATION

Dear Ms Lewis,

I refer to your letters of 30th November 2005 and 2 December 2005 re above. It appears that you are lodging objections to afforestation projects, which are included in notification notices in the local newspaper. I would point out that an objection can only be accepted in respect of specific environmentally sensitive areas.
December 2005
Ms Caroline Lewis,
Director,
Friends Of The Irish Environment,
Allihies,
Co. Cork.

RE: APPLICATIONS FOR AFFORESTATION

Dear Ms Lewis,

I refer to your letters of 30th November 2005 and 2 December 2005 re above. It appears that you are lodging objections to afforestation projects, which are included in notification notices in the local newspaper. I would point out that an objection can only be accepted in respect of specific environmentally sensitive areas. In these cases the public is notified by means of a press notice in local papers and invited to submit observations on afforestation proposals in areas designated as any of the following:
' A proposed Natural Heritage Area, Special Area of Conservation, Special
Protection Area or a National Park.
' An area containing an archaeological site or feature with intensive public use.
' A prime scenic area in a County Development Plan or listed in an Inventory of Outstanding Landscapes.
Local Authorities and environmental organisations are also formally consulted about applications relating to such areas. If the public or any of these organisations object to the planting proposal, their observations and objections are taken into consideration in the deliberations of the Forest Service on the proposal. If the decisions on the
proposal means that such objections are not upheld, those who objected are informed of their right to appeal within 21 days.
I understand that two of the cases referred to in your letters fall into these areas and the Forest Service will be in touch with you separately in relation to these cases.
Notwithstanding the above I can assure you that, The Forest Service carries out a
careful process of vetting all applications received under the afforestation grant
scheme. The District Inspector carries out a detailed evaluation of the site, examining the site characteristics, the planting proposals, the conditions dictated by
environmental, ecological, landscape and water quality considerations and by the presence of any special features such as archaeological remains, if any.
The Department takes into account all observations made by local residents and those of the local authorities and prescribed bodies consulted by the Forest Service in relation to afforestation proposals. The latter include consultations with the National Monuments & Architectural Protection Divisions, the National Parks and Wildlife Serivce of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government with An Taisce and the relevant Regional Fisheries Board.
It is open to the Forest Service to approve or reject the application entirely or in part or, if approval is given, to attach conditions, both environmental and operations, in respect of this project, as recommended by the District Inspector taking due regard of all observations and submissions received. The environmental conditions, under which the Departments grants approval procedures operate, were framed in accordance with a strict set of guidelines laid down by the Forest Service to ensure that all developments take place in accordance with best practice.
I trust the above clarifies the matter for you.
Yours sincerely,
ANTHONY DOWD,
HIGHER EXECUTIVE OFFICER.
As forestry continues to sweep across the countryside FIE answers the Forest Service's call for submissions on the Forestry Acts, which currently require commercial value to be weighed above environmental or social concerns. See our objection to a current application near FIE's West Cork Offices on peat soils in a sesitive area in a fragile designed landscape wholly inappropriate for industrial plantation of non-native Sitka spruce - as proposed.

The Forest Service has told FIE that objections to forestry 'can only be accepted in respect of specific environmentally sensitive areas'. This leaves roughly 90% of the country open to afforestation (the Government's target is 20,000 hectares a year) with no way for anyone to object.



As forestry continues to sweep across the countryside FIE answers the Forest Service's call for submissions on the Forestry Acts, which currently require commercial value to be weighed above environmental or social concerns. See our objection to a current application near FIE's West Cork Offices on peat soils in a sesitive area in a fragile designed landscape wholly inappropriate for industrial plantation of non-native Sitka spruce - as proposed.

The Forest Service has told FIE that objections to forestry 'can only be accepted in respect of specific environmentally sensitive areas'. This leaves roughly 90% of the country open to afforestation (the Government's target is 20,000 hectares a year) with no way for anyone to object.


Ann Gregg
Forest Service Approvals Section,
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co Wexford.
Ref. CN 40398 05 January 2006


Dear Ann,

I wish to uphold the initial objection to the proposed forestry plantation at Barrees, Kilcatherine, Co.Cork or the following reasons:
 The proposed afforestation does not comply with the principles of sustainable forestry;
 It is on unenclosed land on peat soils;
 Plantation forestry on peat soils results result in a net loss of sequested carbon due to the breakdown of the organic matter in the peat soil;
 The site lies within 3km upstream of the SAC's Glanmore Bog 1879 and Kenmare River 2158, an area sensitive for fisheries;
 The site contains a listed archaeological feature, a standing stone CO 102-015 which will become submerged by the plantation losing its relevance in the landscape;
 The proposed location is in Wind Zone A and is therefore highly prone to wind-throw, a risk enhanced by the peat soils;
 Due to the high wind stress the timber will be of poor quality;
 Due to its remote location it and the poor quality of Sitka Spruce timber grown under such conditions the plantation will not be economically viable beyond the premiums to the farmer;
 The proposed forestry plantation will be environmentally damaging to soils, water and biodiversity - a direct infringement of a significant number of E.U. Directives convention obligations etc.
 The area is listed as an scenic area in the West Cork Development Plan and the proposed site is situated in an open landscape;
 The site lies on both sides of the main tourist route from Kenmare to Castletownbere (The Beara Peninsula) where a significant source of income is derived through the tourist industry - this sensitive landscape is entirely inappropriate for industrial plantation forestry;

If you require further information or clarification please don't hesitate to contact me


Yours sincerely,

_______________
Caroline Lewis