Have your say on future of forests in Antrim

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The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Forest Service has launched a public consultation on its plans for Antrim forestry.

Chief Forest Officer Malcolm Beatty said: “As our forests develop as places of industry, environment and leisure, we are encouraging everyone to make their feelings known.”

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

Within the last plan, Forest Service produced an average of 62,000 tonnes of timber each year (which equates to about 10 lorry loads of timber every working day) from Co Antrim forests to supply the timber processing industry, creating jobs in rural areas and providing resources to reinvest in forests.

As part of the sustainable management of the forests, Forest Service regenerated 1,026 hectares of forest land after clear fell, and planted over 2.2 million trees from 2011 to 2017.

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 Beatty added: “This consultation covers forests from Somerset near Coleraine to Woodburn close to Carrickfergus. Forests are a vital natural resource which belong to us all, and it is particularly important that those across this area and beyond have their say.”

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 30 March 2018 to 18 May 2018.

Download the scoping document: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/consultations/scoping-new-forestry-plan-antrim-area-forests-and-woodland

Respond to the scoping document: https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/daera-forest-service/scoping-a-new-forestry-plan-for-antrim-fpa