Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, has announced the commencement of the annual tax-free forestry premium payments for 2022.
The payments will issue this week to forest owners who applied for their payments through the Department’s Online Services website: www.agfood.ie.
Minister Hackett said;
“I am delighted to announce that payment of annual forestry premiums of just under €29m are commencing this week to over 8,200 landowners. Issuing these payments early each year is a priority for my Department and I am delighted it has been achieved on schedule again this year. These payments are tax free and guaranteed for 15 years to each individual forest owners and I would encourage other landowners to actively consider planting a new woodland. It has huge environmental and economic benefits for the owner and for wider society and can complement a productive farming enterprise. Farm forestry is the model that all farmers should consider”
The Department moved to a fully on-line system for forestry premium applications in 2020 and the benefits of the on-line system are a faster turnaround time and a simpler application process. The Minister encouraged other landowners to apply as soon as possible for any outstanding payments.
The Department will continue to process on-line applications for 2022 forest premiums as they are received, with payments being issued on a weekly basis.
The Minister added;
“2022 is going be a very significant year for forestry in Ireland. We will be publishing a brand new Forestry Strategy for Ireland as well as a new Forestry Programme. We also be building on last year’s progress on forestry licencing where we increased the number of licences issued by 60% on the previous year. I am confident that the strong performance from last year will be built on in 2022 and we will focus on increasing the number of afforestation licences we issue in particular..”
There are currently 5,000 hectares approved for planting in Ireland but yet to be planted. The Minister encouraged landowners with approval to plant and who still have a valid licence (approval normally spans 3 years to consider planting their woodland over the coming months. They can then take advantage of the competitive premiums of up to €680 per hectare annually available for the next 15 years).
The grants available under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme cover the cost of establishing the forest plantation and also provides for the payment of annual forestry premium of up to €680 per hectare for 15 years.
Further information about supports for forestry are available on the Department’s website at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/642e6-forestry