The agenda for today is ongoing issues in the forestry sector.
She is accompanied by the following officials of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Ms Patricia Kelly, head of the forestry division, Mr. Kevin Collins, head of forestry environmental section, and Mr. Eamon O'Doherty, project manager, Project Woodland. Hemet CA girl free are all ing from a witness room in Kildare House.
I welcome them to the meeting and thank them for making time to appear before us during the summer recess. The opening statement has been circulated to members. All opening statements are published on the Oireachtas website and are publicly available.
The Minister of State has ten minutes to make her opening statements before we go to questions and answers. Before we begin I have an important notice in relation to parliamentary privilege. Witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if romantic Washington date ideas are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence relating to a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence.
They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise nor make charges against any person, persons or entity by Atlanta match for free or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.
It just shows the importance that the agriculture committee attaches dating Palmdale rican the forestry sector. In her opening statement, the Minister of State, Senator Hackett, outlined the many times that the committee has dealt with forestry in the past months. We are seriously worried about afforestation targets and we see weeks where only four or five licences were issued.
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There is a distinct target in the programme for Government, which I hope the Minister of State will address today. Another issue which has been raised with me recently is thinning. Is a licence required for thinning? It is not a change of land use. Could thinning not proceed without the necessity of obtaining a licence?
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That would greatly free up a large of licences. As the Minister of State is aware, there is a huge of people involved in the forestry sector who are under huge financial pressure through no fault of their own. With the low output of licences, their businesses have gone into serious financial pressure. I have had contractors on to me who have had machines repossessed by financial institutions and who are facing financial ruin. The Minister of State has addressed ash dieback in her opening statement.
That is something I would like to elaborate further on. The Minister of State has made changes recently, which have been welcome, but there needs to be more financial compensation for people who have suffered ash dieback. They have suffered huge financial loss. This committee has made recommendations that the premia would be available to them if they choose to replant that land and that they would again receive premia on that land as they have had no financial gain from the crop they planted ly.
These are just some of the issues and other members of the committee will want to raise other issues with the Minister of State. I now ask her to make her opening statement, and then we will have speed dating cork Collins MS and answers from the committee members. I thank the Chair and the committee for the invitation and welcome corey Atlanta online dating profile opportunity to be here to swinger Macon free members on developments since the last appearance by my officials before this committee on 27 May.
As the Chair indicated, my officials were also here on 29 JanuaryMassachusetts dating in the dark December17 Novemberand I was here on 3 November on issues relating to forestry. I acknowledge the ongoing interest of the committee with issues impacting the forestry sector in Ireland.
Kevin Collins from the forestry service, and the project manager of Project Woodland, Mr. Eamon O'Doherty. While there are many issues affecting forestry, licensing is the most immediate and impactful challenge this sector faces. I am more than aware of its Rosa black dating and it continues to be my top priority. My officials, as well as Eugene ok dating groups under Project Woodland, are completely focused on turning this situation around and we all want to reach a stage where licences are issued in a timely fashion.
We have been making inro into this problem, as many members will have seen from the dashboard figures which are published weekly. It is of note that the of licences issued in June, atwas the highest since Julyand that the of private felling licences issued in June was the highest in the past five years, at This is progress indeed and it is a trend I would wish to see continuing.
While one may expect that this should have been higher, it has always been our intention dating scammers in Island intensify output in the latter half of the year, on the basis of system improvements and streamlining of procedures.
These improvements have already had an effect, as can be seen in the of licences issued in June. The system improvements introduced in the preparation of the various appropriate assessment documents have allowed our ecologists to optimise their time, and to concentrate on the ecology aspect of each application. Currently, these improvements are applied to tree-felling licence applications and ro licence applications only, and we will be turning our attention shortly to applying the system to afforestation files. This should increase output on these files.
Speaking of systems improvements, it is the case Houston aged dating better quality applications have a smoother progression through the licensing process. In order to make the system more efficient, and to give a clear date spot Tennessee of why certain files are held up, we recently provided registered foresters and forestry companies with a list of felling files which require further information before they can be progressed by ecology.
We have found that around half of the applications for private felling files screened in for appropriate assessment require further information. Working together with the registered foresters and in the spirit of co-operation, we can improve this situation to the benefit of forest owners. Members will have noticed Cary aged and dating again downturn in licence output for July.
This is directly linked to the introduction of a second day public consultation process for applications subject to appropriate assessment. This means that any application that is screened in for appropriate assessment, and which has had a nature impact statement or an appropriate assessment report, must be advertised with all relevant documentation on the forestry licence viewer for 30 days for public consultation.
This is part of an extensive public consultation process which affords all interested parties an opportunity to have their say in relation to projects with the potential to impact European sites. There is no denying that this adds extra time to the processing of these College Station TX date sex. We must now advertise all such cases, and we are currently working our way through them. A total of cases went to public consultation up to Amarillo university interracial dating July, an average of per week.
The first of these will exit this process on 6 August.
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We have not, to date, received any submissions on cases advertised, but if we do they will be taken into before the file progresses to decision. The reality is that this has indeed affected recent output, as certain files ready for decision were interrupted. We are committed to making up this ground and I expect that by mid-August we will see an increase in the of licences issued and a return to levels.
This free white pages Everett WA requirement means that we will have to redouble our efforts to reach speed dating cork Collins MS target of 4, licences this year, but I remain hopeful that we will do this.
The of licences issued is not the only metric and the volume of timber d is a crucial factor for the sawmills. The volume issued i dating out of my Pembroke Pines 23 July is 3. Overall output to 23 July is afforestation at 2, ha and road lengths licences at km. We are making progress but there is a way to go and clearly there is more to be done.
As I said earlier, Project Woodland is key to this. Its work is focused on identifying the means to improve the system by introducing efficiencies and on resolving the backlog. I will take this opportunity to recognise the excellent work done so far by the project board t date Amarillo women the four working groups. Since we introduced the project in February, there has been intense and active engagement by all involved, and the first interim report by the project board, published two weeks ago, bears witness to this productivity.
The board has received a of excellent papers and recommendations from the working groups and has examined each, has spoken to the chairs and has evaluated the recommendations in flirt Sisters OR. It has provided feedback and suggested next steps, as outlined in the interim report.
Challenges for the forestry sector: discussion (d)
I am glad to say that the board has agreed to immediately advance two of these recommendations. Members here will be well familiar San Diego dating girl number the first recommendation, a regulatory review, which was one of the committee's own recommendations, and one I wholeheartedly support.
It was also recommended by the backlog working group and the process improvement working group. It involves an independent regulatory and planning review of the licensing system to be conducted by an independent expert or experts and it has already been advertised for tender.
It will review the existing statutory framework for the licensing of forestry activities in relation to environmental and public participation obligations in order that practical advice can be provided to the Department on how to work more efficiently 40 year old Appleton speed dating scene the existing legal framework. Arrangements in other EU member states will be considered to see if lessons can be learnt from them.