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For Oral Answer on : 14/12/2023
Question Number(s): 52 Question Reference(s): 55638/23
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the way he is supporting Coillte in its new Forestry Strategy and Strategic Vision; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


In April 2022 Coillte launched a new and ambitious strategic vision for its future forest estate, which aims to sustainably balance and deliver the multiple benefits of Ireland’s state forests across four strategic pillars: Climate, Nature, Wood and People.  These four strategic pillars are fully aligned with my Department’s recently published Forest Strategy for Ireland.

Following consultation on the strategic vision, feedback was considered and incorporated into the design of a more detailed draft Forest Estate Strategic Land Use Plan (FESLUP).

The FESLUP, accompanied by the SEA and AA reports, was made available on the Coillte website for a six-week period of consultation, which closed on the 26th of October 2023.  My Department made a submission to Coillte as part of this public consultation.  

This submission notes the ambitious afforestation objectives of Coillte.  It also acknowledges that the FESLUP aligns with the goals and objectives of Ireland’s Forest Strategy in relation to emissions reductions in the Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector.  It welcomes the ambition in relation to “Forests for Wood” and the emphasis of the strategy on the importance of harvested wood products and its potential to decarbonise the built economy.


I am fully supportive of the FESLUP and welcome the proposed multi-functional aspects of forestry to provide environmental benefits to rural communities and to society, alongside any economic returns.  I am also cognisant that the FESLUP must take account of the Shareholder Letter of Expectation in the context of Coillte’s statutory responsibilities, Coillte’s constitution and the Government’s overall policy objectives for Coillte.


In addition to having in place written agreements with Coillte, I am aware that there is regular dialogue between my Department and Coillte.  

 
I am also fully committed to ensuring that there are robust and effective governance arrangements in place with all State bodies under my aegis.