I welcome the decision of the Dáil Business Committee this morning to approve the fast tracking of the Agriculture Appeals (Amendment) Bill 2020 to deal with the horrendous backlog in appeals of forestry applications.
“On average 24 forestry appeal applications are submitted each month, with just seven being decided upon. This means it is taking over two years to decide on appeal applications, which is neither fair to the applicant nor people who may be genuinely affected by the application to plant or fell trees. Job losses are on the horizon unless we move to deal with serial objectors”.
“Both sides are being left in a limbo for years, which it totally unacceptable. As a result, the Business Committee has decided to waive pre-legislative scrutiny to allow the new legislation to be debated in Seanad Éireann next week with plans under way for it to be considered by Dáil Éireann the following week.
“I have made representations to the Minister on this issue and I will support moves to rectify this intolerable situation”.
“The current appeals process has been overwhelmed and cannot service anything near the volume of applications presently before it, which is now threatening jobs across the haulage and timber processing sector. It is also having a negative effect on the supply chain for native timber supplies to the construction industry”.
“It is also restricting the availability of brash for the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat which will push up renewable heating costs”.