Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (503)

Noel Rock


503. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his planned policy action to achieve the Climate Action Plan 2019 target for annual afforestation rates of 6,500 hectares by 2025, increasing to 10,000 hectares by 2030 in view of recent trends; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37486/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Climate Action Plan is a comprehensive Government  response to the risks associated with climate change and outlines actions and strategies to reduce and manage those risks through a combination of mitigation and adaptation responses.  The Plan recognises that afforestation has a significant role to play in mitigation, particularly through carbon sequestration and sets a target of 8,000 hectares per annum of new planting.  While this is a challenging target, our aim is to progress towards it through engaging with a range of landowners, from farmers through to State Bodies and Local Authorities. We will be building on current planting levels and working closely with all stakeholders to achieve the new target.

In pursuit of this aim, we will continue to offer generous grants and premiums for afforestation under the national forestry programme and to fund promotional and communication campaigns which highlight the multi-functional benefits of forestry. We will also be continuing to support forest-owners in the sustainable management of their asset through knowledge transfer groups.

We will, of course, also be examining ways in which farm forestry can be better integrated into the new CAP which is currently under discussion.