Dáil Éireann - Volume 633 - 07 March, 2007
Written Answers. - Afforestation Programme.
Mr. Carty Mr. Carty
 Mr. Carty asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the prospects for the forestry sector in 2007. [9169/07]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan: I am reasonably optimistic about the prospects for the forestry sector in 2007. Afforestation grants continue to cover 100% of planting costs and farmers opting for forestry enjoy a 20-year premium of up to €574 per hectare. Furthermore, farmers can plant up to 50% of their land without affecting their Single Farm Payment.
The Forest Service of my Department has put together a new package of measures as part of the Rural Development Programme for 2007 to 2013. The Programme was submitted to the European Commission for approval in December 2006, following extensive public consultation. It includes a range of support measures for the agricultural and forestry sectors, some of which are co-financed with community aid while others are exclusively nationally funded.
Pending approval of the full suite of support measures, grant-aid is currently available for the first afforestation of agricultural land, the construction of forest roads and under a new Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS). This scheme, designed to encourage the establishment of high-nature value forestry on REPS farms, is already a success with applications for just over 1,400 hectares received.
My Department has recently embarked on a joint initiative with the Irish Forestry Industry Chain (IFIC) under the heading ‘Forests for a Bright Future’ to highlight the multifunctional benefits of forestry and to stimulate up-take in the afforestation programme. National and regional radio advertisements have already been broadcast with further regional launches of the campaign planned for the near future.
Dáil Éireann 633 Written Answers. Afforestation Programme.