Co-operative partnership working between Government and the industrial sector helps mitigate climate change as well as build a sustainable economy, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots said today.
Minister Poots was speaking as he spent the day in County Fermanagh where he met Forest Service officials and toured Balcas Timber Ltd.’s premises near Enniskillen.
The Minister said: “The Balcas development and integrated use of wood products produced by the forests is the result of close and innovative partnership working between Industrial and Government sectors. This is a good example of what can be achieved, improving the economics of the forestry sector, underpinning sustainable development in rural areas and producing timber for our homes and businesses which can store carbon and help mitigate climate change.
“What I have seen here today at Balcas Timber is a very impressive example of a successful industry where wealth creation improves the economic and social fortunes of people and communities, bringing benefits for everyone.”
The Minister added: “The Forest Service also contributes to the health and wellbeing of all our citizens through the management of 76,000 hectares of land and 1,700 kilometres of tracks and paths, providing healthy places for people to relax and enjoy nature.
“Northern Ireland needs more forests to store residual carbon which cannot be mitigated through the necessary reductions of GHG emissions alone. Harvesting timber from forests allows for carbon to be stored in processed products and in 2019 Forest Service have regenerated 620 hectares of forest through the replanting of 1.4 million trees. I have asked my senior team to develop a plan as to how we can increase forest and tree cover and capitalise on this vital resource.”
Notes to editors:
- Photo caption - DAERA Minister Edwin Poots pictured learning about the day-to-day operation from a worker at Balcas Timber Limited, Enniskillen on his day long visit to Co Fermanagh on Wednesday. Minister Poots said on his visit that it is a good example of how the economics of the forestry sector could be improved by underpinning sustainable development in rural areas and producing timber for homes and businesses which can store carbon and help mitigate climate change.
- The Minister was welcomed to Balcas Timber Ltd by Brian Murphy, Chief Executive, and members of Balcas senior management team. The visit included a tour of the sawmill log processing facility and the combined heat and power (CHP) plant and wood pellet production unit.
- Balcas has grown from a small family firm, established in Enniskillen in 1962 and handling a few thousand cubic metres (m³) of timber, to an international company consuming over 600,000 m³ at its Enniskillen site and directly employing 380 people and providing employment for 300 more in associated harvesting and haulage. It is the largest single site saw mill in Ireland and is the largest wood pellet manufacturer in Britain and Ireland. Current turnover is over £100million.
- Balcas operates from it’s sawmill site near Enniskillen and renewable energy plants in both Enniskillen and Invergordon which have a combined output of over 250,000 m3 sawn timber, 11.3 MW of electricity and 170,000 tonnes of wood pellets.
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