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Minister of State Wallace announces increased rates for Forestry 'Neighbourwood' and 'Native Woodland' Schemes

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibility for forestry, has today announced an increase in the grant levels for certain elements of the NeighbourWood Scheme and the Native Woodland Scheme.

Commenting on the NeighbourWood Scheme, Minister of State Wallace said "The NeighbourWood Scheme grant package is all about bringing communities and woodlands together, by helping local authorities and others to create 'close-to-home' woodland amenities in partnership with communities, for local people to use and enjoy. These woodlands can provide other benefits including habitats for wildlife, biodiversity, improving the landscape while also providing a place for people to get closer to the natural world". The Minister of State announced that two elements of the NeighbourWood Scheme were being increased: the Enhancement Grant is being increased to €5,000 per hectare while the grant rate for the Facilities element is being increased to €4,500 per hectare for the first 10 hectares of forest area submitted and €3,000 per hectare for all subsequent area submitted, up to a maximum of 40 hectares.

Turning to the Native Woodland Scheme, Minister of State Wallace commented that "Native woodlands are a key part of Ireland's biodiversity and represent diverse vibrant ecosystems that are significant at a national, European and international level" and added "The Native Woodland Scheme aims to provide landowners with the resources needed to enable them to protect and enhance existing native woodlands, and to develop new native woodlands". The grant for the Conservation of Existing Native Woodland element of this scheme is being increased to €5,000 per hectare while the Native Woodland Conservation Premium is being increased to €350 per hectare per annum and will be payable for a period of seven years.

The Minister of State added that, having announced the reopening of these schemes in December 2007, she was delighted now to be able to announce these significant increases in the grant rates available for these community and society orientated forestry schemes.

Concluding, Minister of State Wallace said "it should be noted that my Department is providing support for innovative and life enhancing schemes as well as focusing on the commercial aspects of timber production. Forests have benefits for everyone in our society, right from the farmer to local authorities and communities developing facilities for their town or city".

Date Released: 18 April 2008