The largest investment by an Irish government in tree-planting
This week, I was delighted to announce that this Government plans to invest €1.3 billion in Irish forestry, which will be the largest ever investment by an Irish Government in tree-planting. This unprecedented package of supports will help us deliver the biggest and best-funded Forestry Programme ever in Ireland, and it couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, given the urgency of taking climate mitigation measures.
We know that planting trees is one of the most effective methods of tackling climate change, as well as contributing to improved biodiversity and water quality, and securing this level of investment is another example of how the Green Party is using its position in government to deliver climate action and strengthen Ireland’s biodiversity.
The new National Forestry Programme is built around the principle – long held by the Green Party - of the right tree in the right place, for the right reasons with the right management. It aims to deliver more diverse forest which will meet multiple environmental, social and economic objectives. Higher grant rates for forest establishment are proposed, with increases of approximately 20% to reflect rising living costs.
One of my main aims with this new Programme is to re-engage farmers in afforestation. I’m delighted therefore that existing establishment grants and annual payments to farmers will increase by up to 66%, and I’m also proposing a new 20-year premium term exclusively for farmers. Additionally, the introduction of a new small-scale native woodland scheme will make it much easier for landowners who wish to plant small areas of trees on their farm.
I really believe this Programme marks a turning point for Irish forestry, along with another milestone on our journey to making this Ireland’s Green decade.