Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (304, 305)

Shane Cassells

Question:

304. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications submitted by each local authority and the funding provided to each under the native woodland scheme in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50833/19]

View answer

Shane Cassells

Question:

305. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications submitted by each local authority and the funding provided to each under the neighbourwood scheme in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50834/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 304 and 305 together.

My Department operates a package of measures under the Forestry Programme 2014-2020, aimed specifically at promoting the proactive protection and expansion of Ireland’s native woodland resource. These measures represent a key biodiversity component within Ireland’s national forest policy as well as contributing to our climate change objectives.

These measures are as follows:

- Native Woodland Establishment (as represented by Grant & Premium Categories 9 and 10 under the Afforestation Grant & Premium Scheme), which funds the establishment of new native woodland on open ‘greenfield’ sites; and

- Native Woodland Conservation Scheme, which promotes the appropriate restoration of existing native woodland (including the conversion of non-native forest to native woodland), through the provision of financial support to forest holders towards the cost of appropriate works.

Both measures have been developed and implemented in partnership with Woodlands of Ireland, the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Heritage Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and other native woodland stakeholders. It is envisaged that both measures will continue to develop over the coming years, based on the ongoing partnership, experiences gained and evolving priorities.

Following the mid-term review of the Forestry Programme, I increased grants and premium rates. The grant available for Native Woodland Establishment, which both private land owners and local authorities can avail of, is €5,620 per hectare. Under the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme – Public Woodland a cost-based grant payment up to a maximum of €5,000 per hectare is available to local authorities and other public land holders.

In this regard, Coillte Nature, a new not-for-profit entity within Coillte, has announced its commitment to converting nine commercial Coillte forests in the Dublin Uplands (Ticknock, Barnaslignan, Carrigolligan, Kilmashogue, Ballyedmonduff, Massey’s Wood, Hell Fire, Cruagh and Tibradden) to forests with the primary purpose of recreation and biodiversity. Conversion from commercial forests to recreational forests will involve a mixture of conventional tree felling and replanting with native tree species, continuous cover forestry (CCF) and long term retention of other tree species. The project is being jointly funded by Coillte and the three Dublin local authorities with grants for native woodland conversion being provided by my Department.

As part of my Department's strategy towards meeting our objectives under the Climate Action Plan and under the National Biodiversity Plan, we plan to actively engage with all public bodies in the near future to encourage them to identify possibilities within their land bank for the establishment of native woodlands.

No applications have been received from local authorities under the Native Woodland Establishment or Native Woodland Conservation, although they have shown significant interest in accessing the Neighbourwood scheme. This Scheme brings communities and woodlands together by helping local authorities and other landowners, both public and private, to create ‘close-to-home’ woodland amenities in partnership with communities, for local people to use and enjoy.

Funding is available under three separate elements:

- NeighbourWood (NBR) Establishment funds the establishment of new neighbourwood on open ‘greenfield’ sites.

- NBR Enhancement funds the silvicultural enhancement of existing woodland already used as neighbourwood, or proposed for development as neighbourwood.

- NBR Facilities funds the installation and upgrade of appropriate recreational facilities within an area submitted under NBR Establishment or NBR Enhancement, or within an existing woodland suitable for recreation but not submitted under NBR Enhancement.

The following is a list of the applications received, and funding provided, to local authorities under the NeighbourWood Scheme:

Applicant

Number of Schemes

Amount Paid

Ballina Town Council

1

€123,696.80

Carlow Co. Co.

1

€129,065.00

Clare Co. Co.

8

€357,785.92

Cork Co. Co.

3

€41,681.43

Donegal Co. Co.

1

€18,647.40

Dublin Co. Co.

2

€52,355.17

Dungarvan UDC

1

€5,708.91

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Co. Co.

1

€64,723.21

Fingal Co. Co.

1

€49,637.77

Galway City Co.

1

€45,912.00

Galway Co. Co.

1

€72,373.25

Kerry Co. Co.

2

€91,676.71

Kilkenny Co. Co.

2

€255,640.00

Leitrim Co. Co.

1

€6,031.50

Limerick City Co.

1

€20,204.27

Limerick Co. Co.

1

€115,633.44

Mayo Co. Co.

5

€204,422.33

Meath Co. Co.

1

€78,542.49

Monaghan Co. Co.

1

€28,500.00

Roscommon Co. Co.

1

€116,129.75

Roundwood & District Co. Co.

1

€113,072.10

Skibbereen Town Co.

1

€4,764.40

Sligo Co. Co.

1

€11,737.79

Waterford Co. Co.

2

€13,828.80

Westmeath Co. Co.

1

€54,500.00

Westport Town Co.

1

€23,575.00

Wexford Co. Co.

1

€13,495.08

Wicklow Co. Co.

4

€370,258.71