Project Woodland, under the leadership of Minister-of-State Hackett, who has responsibility for forestry, is an initiative to tackle issues in forestry in Ireland and to promote and encourage woodland creation.
It involves four different Working Groups reporting to Minister Hackett through a Project Manager and a Project Board. The project Board is being chaired by the Secretary General.
The Working Groups are working concurrently, focussing on different areas. The first one will concentrate on the backlog, the second on a vision for forestry, the third on devising a fit for purpose organisational structure and communication, and the fourth on streamlining the licensing process for the future.
Each Working Group is made up of stakeholders drawn from the Minister’s existing Forestry Policy Group and is chaired by an independent, experienced outsider. All Groups have met already and the Project Manger has updated the Project Board on the outcomes from those meetings, with good progress being made and plans for meeting the milestones and objectives of the Groups being put in place. These groups are supported, as appropriate, by resources within my Department.
The Project Manager is the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for forestry and agri-environment schemes within my Department. As such his role is intrinsically linked with the delivery of actions from the Mackinnon Report, which is being facilitated through Project Woodland. He will be supported by a full time Management Professional and a systems analyst who are currently being recruited.
I am committed, along with Minister Hackett, to the success of Project Woodland and all appropriate resources across my Department will be in place to ensure that it can be delivered for the benefit of the forestry sector and society.