Deputy Seán Canney TD has called on the Government to immediately address the crisis evolving within the forestry as a result of serial objection to felling licences being issued.
‘The supply of timber for our construction industry is drying up, forcing sawmills to let go workers and leaving us reliant on imports’.
This situation has arisen due to the licence system in place and the introduction of open appeals to the granting of felling licences.
‘Anyone anywhere can object to the felling licence and this has resulted in a log jam within the Department of Agriculture’.
There is a huge delay in granting the licence in the first place, often up to 15 months and the open appeals process is resulting in over one third of the licences being appealed.
‘The demand for timber is not being met from local sources, the construction industry is not getting the timber’.
Job losses are occurring in the sawmills and the issues within the supply chain will slow down the rate of construction especially housing.
The solution to this issue relies on the licensing section and the Forestry Appeals committee being resourced properly to deal with licensing and appeals in a timely fashion.
‘The Government also need to visit the legislation to ensure that objectors have to declare their interest in the licence application and also pay a fee in order to lodge any appeal. It is imperative that this action is taken to safeguard the future of the Irish timber industry’.
Coillte are under severe pressure and have already cancelled most of its regular auctions this year and they do not have any forest available. Coillte normally provide 75% of the tress used for timber production in this country.