Objectors stall production of enough timber for 1,000 houses

Objectors have, over the past week, stalled production of enough timber to build about 1,000 homes, it has emerged.

It now looks increasingly likely that a red-tape logjam will force State forestry company, Coillte, to cancel a key autumn auction of timber, leaving sawmills around the State without about half their supplies for the coming year.

Appellants have challenged 29 tree-felling licences issued by the Department of Agriculture since August 4th, putting a block on the supply of 100,000 cubic metres of timber, enough to build 1,000 homes, industry estimates say.

Coillte and sawmillers have been warning since last month that the failure of the department’s Forestry Appeals Committee to deal speedily with appeals threatens timber supplies in the Republic and endangers thousands of jobs.

The delays mean that Coillte, supplier of much of the State’s timber, could have to cancel its regular autumn auction, at which sawmills bid for up to half the supplies they will need for next year.

Last week’s spate of challenges leaves the total number of appeals against felling licences before the committee at more than 400. Officials are processing them at a rate of about 20 a month.


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