Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (489)

James Browne

Ceist:

489. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding financial assistance to small businesses that plan to plant 250 trees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47562/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under the Afforestation Scheme, private land-owners, including small businesses, may avail of establishment grants which cover 100% of the cost of establishing woodlands as well as annual premium payments each year for up to 15 years. The smallest size that may be funded under the scheme is 0.1 ha for broadleaves, which equals around 330 trees.

My Department also has a new Woodland Environmental Fund (WEF) which provides a shared platform within which the business community can join with Government and landowners to plant native trees. Under this initiative, businesses can be associated with individual native woodlands and use the environmental benefits linked to these forests to communicate their contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of their business and to restoring local biodiversity.

The WEF ties in with the Department's existing afforestation scheme and involves an additional once-off top-up payment per hectare of €1,000 financed by the business to the landowner. The average area of a native woodlands is in the region of 4-5 hectares representing over 13,000 individual trees.