The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association is calling for a radical overhaul in the payment of Afforestation Premium. “Currently annual payments in excess of €600/ha can be received irrespective of where you live and who or what you are” stated INHFA spokesperson Gerry Loftus who added “how these premium and possible futuristic carbon credits are the main driving forces behind the forestry expansion.”
For many communities he continued “the forestry expansion threatens the very fabric of rural life and unless radical changes are made to the premium and the establishment grant then this threat will become a distinct reality throughout western seaboard counties”
For this reason he stated “how the INHFA are proposing that the payment of any future premium and establishment grant for forestry would require that the recipient’s main residential residence is within 50km of the forestry site. For companies this rule would also apply for their main head quarters.
By implementing a rule such as this Mr Loftus stated how “it would not impact on local farmers who wanted to plant some of their land, but it would eliminate companies and others coming to counties such as Leitrim and using that land potential as a carbon right-off at no cost to them but enormous cost to the local community.”