A new scheme to fund the creation of new native woodland on public lands has been launched.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D., and Minister of State with responsibility for Forestry at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, earlier today (Wednesday, August 12th).
“This scheme meets one of the main biodiversity commitments in the Programme for Government and will be funded by the minister’s Department which will cover the cost of establishing such forests on suitable land in public ownership.”
The scheme is aimed at all public bodies, including:
i). Government departments and state-sponsored organisations;
ii). Higher education authorities and;
iii). Local authorities.
'Contributing in a meaningful way to meeting environmental targets'
Minister Calleary stated, ‘‘Public bodies that engage in this new initiative will be making a strong statement to their customers, industry partners and to the public, in general, that they are contributing in a meaningful way to meeting environmental targets.”
“My Department looks forward to engaging with and supporting them in the design and creation of these woodlands.’’
The scheme was approved by government the end of last month and will commence with a landbank analysis by all public bodies to assess whether they have land suitable for planting.
Minister Hackett said, “Native woodlands are an important part of Ireland’s natural heritage, history and culture, and are unique in terms of their biodiversity and habitat creation.”
“This scheme demonstrates this Government’s commitment to improving biodiversity, while also putting in place permanent woodland that will capture carbon, can protect water, and will add to our landscapes for many years into the future.”
Iarnród Éireann have stepped forward as the first public body to express an interest in the scheme.
Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann said that “As one of the country’s largest public land custodians, Iarnród Éireann recognises the important role it can play in developing and enhancing our country’s natural capital.”
“With the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, approval to establish a native woodland is now being sought for a site on our land in Co. Roscommon as a pilot under this scheme.”
“We are now actively examining landbank to assess whether other sites may also be suitable for entry into the scheme,” Meade concluded.