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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (380)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

380. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he continues to engage with all stakeholders with a view to maximising measures such as afforestation in the context of carbon sequestration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53895/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a process known as sequestration plays a significant role in meeting our climate change objectives.

My Department provide a range of incentives to encourage land owners to carry out activities that increase carbon storage in soils and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Engagement with all stakeholders is a key aspect of delivering on our commitments to reduce emissions in all areas of our economy. Teagasc, funded by my Department, engage with farmers on a range of measures targeted at reducing emissions from land based activities.

The most significant land use activity that sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is delivered by the afforestation scheme.

My Department established Project Woodland earlier this year to tackle a range of issues in forestry and in response to the recommendations highlighted in the Mackinnon report. This report was commissioned to review processes and procedures on licensing.

Its implementation was a key action in the Programme for Government. Project Woodland is a stakeholder platform that provides opportunities for all to engage and communicate on matters relating to forestry. Project woodland involves four different workstreams working concurrently.

The first one is concentrating on the backlog in licensing, the second on developing a new forest strategy, the third on devising a fit for purpose organisational structure, and the fourth on streamlining the licensing process for the future.

Each workstream, chaired independently, is being supported by a working group made up of stakeholders drawn from my Forestry Policy Group.

Reducing the backlog in licensing and improving processes is essential to increase the uptake in afforestation from its current low levels.

Stakeholder consultation within Project Woodland across all workstreams is taking place and will create the conditions to encourage more landowners to consider planting their lands with trees.

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