MINISTER HAYES ANNOUNCES THE SIGNING OF THE CONTRACT TO UNDERTAKE A STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF THE DEPARTMENTS NEW FORESTRY PROGRAMME FOR THE PERIOD 2014 – 2020
Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, announced the formal signing today of the contract with RSM McClure Watters (Consulting) Ltd. to carry out an Ex Ante Evaluation, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment of the new forestry programme for 2014 – 2020.
Minister Hayes said that “The signing of this contract marks an important step in the preparation of the new forestry programme as it signals the beginning of a process which will end in the formal adoption of an ambitious plan for forestry, fully funded by the State.” The proposed suite of measures will undergo a rigorous appraisal exercise to ensure that the overall plan is in line with the needs identified for Ireland which are consistent with EU wide priorities. The proposal will then be subject to an environmental assessment which will ensure that any environmental considerations are taken into account in the preparation of the forestry programme. At the centre of this work will be a consultation process involving both stakeholders and the wider public and it is expected that this process will begin next month, with details to be announced shortly.
The Minister said that “The forestry programme for the period 2014 – 2020 must take into account new State Aid rules which are based on the recently published CAP regulations. I can reassure those wishing to plant and the forestry sector as a whole that my Department is looking at all option available within this new framework to maintain an attractive afforestation scheme for the next 6 years.”