Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (222)

Martin Heydon

Question:

222. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when Mullaghcreelan Wood, Castledermot, County Kildare, which is under the control of Coillte, is expected to re-open following closure during the storms earlier this year; the remedial work required to ensure public safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18464/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Coillte Teoranta was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act, 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as the management of their forest estate, are the responsibility of the company. The matter was, however, raised with Coillte who advise that the company is currently awaiting felling licence approval from my Department to harvest the windblown areas in Mullaghcreelan. I understand that the company has applied for a felling licence for removal of the windblown area and removal of dangerous trees throughout the property. The company advises that there is a health and safety risk in opening the forest and that the company cannot proceed until such time as a felling licence has been issued. I am pleased to advise that the felling licence concerned was issued by my Department yesterday.

In relation to the removal of trees following the recent storms, the position is that forest owners must have a felling licence before they can fell any trees including those that have suffered wind blow. My Department has received a significant number of felling licence applications following the storms earlier this year and my officials are processing them as expeditiously as possible.