The current Forest Licence System is not fit for purpose and needs to be overhauled as a matter of urgency.
Today there are nearly 6,000 licences in the system pending decision.
Farmers are awaiting more than two years for a licence to thin forests, and they have no set timeline as to when they will be allowed to plant, thin, or fell the forest.
“Forestry has been a major weapon in the Climate Action Plan 2019, but we are falling short of our targets with less than 2000 hectares being planted out of a target of 8000 hectares”.
“Government need to take urgent action and introduce a one licence system that deals with planting, thinning, and felling as one application. The current appropriate assessment (AA) screening process, associated rules and thresholds must be reduced to reflect the size and scale of operations in farm forests”.
“The licence system must guarantee that a farmer has to wait no longer than 4 months for a decision on forestry licence and this timeline needs to be on a statutory basis”.
“The supply of native timber into the construction industry has been seriously disrupted in a time when we need to be building houses and we are now relying on imported timber which is disgraceful”.
“Jobs in forestry, sawmills, haulage are all at risk due to this Licensing system which has failed”.