The Programme for Government makes a number of commitments for the forestry sector in Ireland. These include the alignment of the licensing and appeals processes with other similar processes, a commitment to implement the recommendations of the Mackinnon Review and to ensure the licensing system is sufficiently resourced to clear the existing backlog.
The Deputy will be aware that last year, my Department published the Mackinnon Review of Approval Processes for Afforestation in Ireland. This review was the product of extensive consultation with officials of my Department, industry stakeholders, non-government organisations and others. The review summarises 22 ways forward, one of which was the introduction of fees for forestry licences. That review is already publicly available on my Department’s website.
The Government has agreed to the drafting of amending legislation to align the forestry licensing and appeals processes with that of the national planning and other comparable appeals processes.