INHFA seeks local limit to forestry payments

A farming organisation wants forestry payments curtailed amid claims they are a threat to the fabric of rural life.

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) wants the payment of afforestation premiums restricted to local residents.

INHFA spokesman Gerry Loftus said: “Currently, annual payments in excess of €600/ha can be received irrespective of where you live and who or what you are.”

Mr Loftus said these premium and possible futuristic carbon credits are the main driving forces behind the forestry expansion.

He said that, for many communities, “the forestry expansion threatens the very fabric of rural life and unless radical changes are made to the premium and the establishment grant then this threat will become a distinct reality throughout western seaboard counties”.

The INHFA are proposing restrictions on the payment.

“The INHFA are proposing that the payment of any future premium and establishment grant for forestry would require that the recipient’s main residential residence is within 50km of the forestry site. For companies this rule would also apply for their main headquarters,” he explained.

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