In order for the companies of the timber industry in Ireland to continue to work, the country will buy timber from Scotland. Experts attribute the trend to tightening EU environmental standards.
The law passed last week, according to Senator Tim Lombard, will only exacerbate the shortage of timber, which has now become a reality. He said the GP Wood sawmill in Enniskean, which employs 500 people, will cut production to four days this week and then move to a three-day and two-day week. In addition, there is a shortage of timber used in construction in the country.
“In the next few months, we will be importing timber from Scotland through the Port of Passage West, south of Cork. Five ships were booked for the next three months to keep the mill running,'' he said.
At the same time, the Minister of State in charge of forestry, Pippa Hackett of the Green Party, admits that the law deals with job losses: “I understand the concerns about the haste of legislation, in fact, this is emergency legislation. I don’t want to go on such a gamble ... The current delays in the issuance of licenses have led to serious difficulties for the people employed in the forestry industry. If no action is taken, we could very quickly face the prospect of sawmills running out of timber and job losses, especially in rural Ireland. Delays in the [forestry ban] appeal have an impact on the felling and transport of wood to sawmills, as well as on the rate of planting. ”
The forestry crisis in Ireland is related to the licensing changes introduced by the EU in response to the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which found that licensing in Ireland is not fully compliant with EU environmental requirements. Fundamental changes to the licensing system require that each application for a license [to conduct forestry activities] must be assessed for the impact of the proposed activity on the landscape and the environment.
After the EU raised the required environmental standards, additional ecologists, forest inspectors and administrative staff were required. The licensing process literally stalled. Forestry professionals in Ireland say that the bill not only spoils the image of the Green Party, but, more importantly, discourages more farmers from forestry.