THE Irish Forestry and Forest Products Association (IFFPA), has welcomed the Government commitment to invest an extra €3 million in the forestry and bio-energy sector next year, as announced in the budget.
IFFPA director Marian Byron said, in the current economic climate, sound investment must always be prioritised. It is clear the Government has seen the benefits which this valuable and important sector can bring.
“The sector employs 16,000 people, mainly in rural communities. Investing in afforestation ensures there is a steady supply of employment in rural areas, both in forestry and in the wood processing and manufacturing business, which are also rurally based.
“The increase in acreage of tree planting corresponds to an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide removed to ensure compliance with our climate change obligations. This saves the Irish taxpayer money as it will remove the need to purchase carbon credit,” she said.
Ms Byron said the sector will assist in providing a large contribution to the renewable energy commitment, with residual wood material being utilised as biomass for fuel.
The industries within the sector would welcome the opportunity to engage with the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food constructively to develop a cost-effective plan.
She said the aim of this plan would be to achieve maximum afforestation levels and to ensure that prime return is provided to investors, the environment and ultimately the Irish taxpayer.
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