Many measures have been put in train to progress felling licences within my Department.
Approximately 75% of home grown roundwood that is processed by the sawmills in Ireland comes from Coillte forests and approximately 25% from private forests and it is therefore important that both Coillte and the private sector have sufficient licences to harvest and supply the sawmills.
I can report that Coillte is fully licensed for this year and our aim is to have Coillte fully licensed for 2022 by year end. It is vitally important that this is in place as it gives much needed confidence to the harvesting and processing sector.
In relation to the private sector supply we have increased the number of felling licences substantially in recent months due to several system improvements and continued investment in ecology resources. Over 750 private licences have been issued since the first of June.
The Coillte felling applications and their associated documentation has been prepared by a team of Coillte ecologists and foresters.
The documentation is to a high and consistent standard. The Department’s Forestry Inspectors carry out inspections, screening and document preparation before being sent to an ecology team.
In relation to the 56 licences that were issued to Coillte last week my Department have a team of approximately 27 full time equivalent ecologists who work on a range of Coillte felling , private felling, afforestation and forest road files contributing each week to the total weekly output of licensed files.