The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Forest Service has launched two public engagements on scoping its plans for forests in West Tyrone and East Tyrone / East Fermanagh. The areas being reviewed stretches from Caledon to Strabane and Moneymore to Kesh.
These engagements are part of a process of reviewing forestry plans for all eight Forestry Planning Areas in Northern Ireland which enables forest users, forest owners, industry and local communities to become involved at an early stage of the planning process.
Planning forester Breandan Mulholland said: “As our forests develop as places of industry, environment and leisure, we are encouraging everyone to continue to make their feelings known.
“Within the area being reviewed Forest Service has well-established partnerships with Mid Ulster, Fermanagh and Omagh, and Derry City and Strabane District Councils, which have led to significant improvement in the provision of recreation in forests in these Forestry Planning Areas. Examples include partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council to provide walking trails in Glenderg Forest and with Mid Ulster District Council in the ongoing development in Knockmany Forest that will lead to improved trails and visitor facilities. We are continuing our liaison with council officials to ascertain how forests can best contribute to tourism priorities and recreation development within the wider Council areas.
“The area under review also includes some of the largest forests in Northern Ireland, such as Glenderg in West Tyrone and Mullaghfad on the Fermanagh-Tyrone border. These contain a huge reserve of timber underpinning the sawmill industry, as well as a being a place for recreation and a place to enhance and protect natural habitats.
“Forestry planning helps us deliver many services from our forests and woodlands, such as timber production, capture of carbondioxide to mitigate climate change, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities. Regular reviews of forest plans ensures that they are up to date and allows us to monitor our forests to enable them to continue to meet the diverse and sometimes competing needs of people, wildlife, and wood processing industries.
“Most of the forests planted in the 1960s and 1970s are now increasingly providing sustainable timber. Their regeneration provides an opportunity for re-design to deliver landscape improvement and provide a diverse range of wildlife habitats.”
The consultation paper reviews achievements under the current plan. Under each of 11 scoping topics, it identifies opportunities where forest plans could be improved, and suggests how this might be taken forward.
You are invited to express your views and opinions about any of the topic areas presented in the scoping document, and advise the Forestry Planning team of your specific interests or concerns.
The scoping topic areas cover forestry effects on landscapes, rivers and lakes; the enjoyment of forests by people; new forests, sustainable forests and supplying sustainable wood products; and conservation of forestry lands.
Mr Mulholland added: “Forests are a vital natural resource which belong to us all, and it is particularly important that those with an interest have their say on the development of forest plans.”
You are also invited to share any information held by you or your organisation that may be relevant to forestry planning.
The consultation runs from 27 June 2019 to 27 September 2019.
Notes to editors:
- This engagement is part of a wider programme. To date three other engagements have being carried out.
- Download the scoping documents.
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- All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.
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