Changes made to Irish forest protection scheme

Irish government chiefs have announced changes to a scheme to protect the country's woodland.

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Wallace, announced new incentives that would be introduced under the country's Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS).

Landowners planting a minimum of eight hectares of woodland will receive a FEPS premium of Euro 200 per hectare, regardless of their farm size.

Also, those farm owners with plantations of between five and eight hectares will receive a premium of Euro 150 per hectare.

These premiums are in addition to the existing Afforestation Scheme grants and premium.

Minister Wallace said: "The FEPS pilot in 2007 demonstrated the considerable appetite that exists amongst active farmers for planting trees.

"We watched with interest the profile of farmers who did and didn't plant under FEPS.

"We could see that there was good scope for additional planting on larger FEPS farms but the degressive premium under the FEPS pilot was off-putting. I have addressed that now."

She added that "demand for timber has never been higher" and that many farmers were benefiting from this.

Ben Meggeson



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