Implementation of the Mackinnon report is well under way through Project Woodland, which was established by, Minister of State Pippa Hackett, who has overall responsiblity for the sector, over a year ago to improve the licensing system and deal with the backlog, and to drive forward the planting of trees under a shared vision for forestry in Ireland.
I am pleased to report that progress has been made.
All recommendations are actively in progress, with some completed, and I attach a table with a detailed update on each. I will take this opportunity to summarise progress on specific items.
An end-to-end review of the licencing process has been completed and recommendations arising from that review have moved to the implementation stage.
The consultation on the new Forestry Strategy is underway, with a public attitudes survey and a community engagement survey already completed while bilateral engagement with key stakeholders is nearing completion for widespread engagement.
Over 3,000 submissions have been received on an online public consultation on the future of forests in Ireland, which closed for submissions on 27th April. These submissions will be examined in detail over the next few weeks and will feed in to the formation of the new Forestry Strategy and Programme which are due for completion by the end of 2022.
A deliberative dialogue on our forests took place last week, chaired by Helen Carroll of Ear to the Ground. It was a similar format to the citizens assembly, consisting of 99 citizens representing the general demographic of our population and again, output from this event will feed into the new Strategy and Programme.
The forestry licencing plan for 2022 details a range of forestry priorities for 2022, the delivery of which will reduce the backlog.
A more detailed update on progress under each of the Mackinnon recommendations is contained in the attached table.