Yesterday the Woodland Trust’s Northern Ireland Director, Patrick Cregg, discussed the forestry legislation with the BBC’s Mike McKimm. You can watch the interview here.
The Trust has worked in partnership with the RSPB NI to advocate the need for the legislation to deliver on the many social, environmental and commerical benefits forestry can bring to Northern Ireland. We therefore welcome the Minister’s latest revisions to the Bill which will see her Department responsible for delivering on climate change mitigation and adaptation, the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of recreation.
The new felling licence regime will include a ‘desirability’ to protect ancient woodland in the province, a clause that we hope will ensure the absolute protection of this ‘Rolls Royce’ of a habitat. It is, after all, our equivalent of the rainforest!
We are also pleased to see the Department bring forward a duty to produce and maintain a woodland inventory. Producing an inventory is essential as it will provide a baseline against which performance can be judged, whilst also allowing for a targeted approach to new woodland creation.
The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, her Department, and the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee all deserve praise for listening to the concerns of stakeholders and amending the legislation accordingly.
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