Have your say on the future of forests in the North West

Date published: 25 January 2019

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Forest Service has today launched a scoping document in advance of revising its forest management plans for the North West Forestry Planning Area.

Binevenagh Forest

The area under consideration takes in some of the most iconic landscapes in Northern Ireland, including Downhill Forest beside the Mussenden Temple and Binevenagh Forest, overlooking Magilligan.

Calling on the public to have their say, planning forester Breandan Mulholland said: “As our forests develop as places of industry, environment and leisure, we are encouraging everyone to make their views known on future management. This scoping engagement is part of a wider programme where the public is being given the opportunity to help plan how our forests will be managed for decades to come.

“This is the third in a series of eight scoping engagements that Forest Service hope to carry out over the next two years and I am delighted to say that participation to date has been very encouraging with over 100 contributions received so far.”

Forest Service regularly reviews its forest plans to ensure they are up to date and continue to meet the diverse needs of people, wildlife and business. Forest users, owners and industry can become involved at an early stage when issues are being identified and the scope of the plans decided.

Under the current plan, Forest Service forests in the North West have produced an average of nearly 29,000 tonnes of timber each year, supplying the timber processing industry, creating jobs in rural areas, and providing resources to reinvest in forests.

Forest Service regenerated 270 hectares of forest land after felling in the North West during 2013-18, and has planted over half a million trees as part of the sustainable management of the forests.

The scoping document reviews achievements under the current plan. Under each of 11 forestry scoping topics, it identifies opportunities where forest plans could improve delivery of services and suggests how this might be taken forward.

All members of the public are invited to express their views and opinions about any of the topics presented in the scoping document, and tell the Forestry Planning team if they have any specific interests or concerns.

The forestry scoping topics include: landscapes, rivers and lakes; the enjoyment of forests by people; new forests, sustainable forests and supplying sustainable wood products; and conservation of forestry lands.

Breandan Mulholland concluded: “Forests are a vital natural resource which deliver a wide range of services to us all. They help create rural employment and are increasingly being used for a wide range of leisure activities so it is particularly important that we hear from people to help further improve the delivery of these services.”

You are also invited to share any information held by you or your organisation that may be relevant to forestry planning.

The engagement runs until 01 March 2019.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The attached map shows the area under covered by the engagement.
  2. The attached photograph can be used in relation to the article. The photograph taken in 2018 shows Binevenagh Forest.
  3. This engagement is part of a wider programme. To date two other engagements have being carried out. View the public summary of the Sperrin Forestry Planning Area.
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  5. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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