Published: Mon, 02 March 2015
Seán Kelly MEP has welcomed plans for a new EU Forest Strategy which will help create job opportunities and provide additional income sources for landowners in rural Ireland.
Discussions on the new EU Forest Strategy coincide with the announcement of Ireland’s new €482 million Forestry Programme 2014-2020, which will incentivise landowners to increase Ireland’s forest coverage by 44,000 ha by 2020.
“The sustainable development of our forests and forest-based industries would bring significant opportunities for job creation in Ireland, particularly to rural communities, and provide additional income sources for landowners. Applying Sustainable Forest Management practices will ensure that our forest resources are used efficiently and economically,” the Fine Gael MEP said in welcoming the initiatives at both EU and national level.
“As we look to increase the share of renewables in our energy mix, an increased forest area that is sustainably managed could further develop our bioenergy sector. This, in turn, will help improve our energy security by replacing some of our energy imports with a reliable and indigenous source,” Mr Kelly continued.
“For Ireland and the EU, maintaining a clean and healthy environment is vital. Ireland’s forests are important carbon reservoirs, offsetting around 5% of national emissions. Increasing our forest cover from 10.5% to 18% by 2050, as is the aim of the Department of Agriculture, will also bring huge additional benefits in contributing to the health and well-being of our population and so I am delighted to see action taken in this regard, both in Brussels and at home.”
The European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), of which MEP Kelly is a member, has put forward its recommendations on the new EU Forestry Strategy.