Written Answers. - Afforestation Programme.

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

243 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will make a statement on the total acreage of forestry that is contracted to be sown in the year 2003; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that millions of trees have had to be destroyed in the nurseries due to cutbacks; and the estimate of acreage which will be grown in 2004. [19229/03]

Planting levels in 2003 are expected to reach 12,000 hectares. I am aware that Coillte Teoranta in its annual report and accounts 2002 stated that it had disposed of plants that were intended for sale in late 2002 and 2003. The 2004 allocation for forestry will be determined following the annual estimates process later this year.