Deputy Michael Lowry welcomes changes to ash dieback scheme

Chalara fraxinea affects ash trees.

Deputy Michael Lowry welcomes changes to ash dieback scheme

The Tipp TD pledges to fight for plantation owners across the county and country

Deputy Michael Lowry has welcomed the changes to the Ash Dieback Scheme saying that it provides nothing more that the owners of such plantations deserve.

It was announced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine on Friday last that the rules have changed for eligibility for the Scheme with immediate effect and includes all ash plantations over 7m in height and now also includes sites over 25 years of age.

In addition, any applications that have been received since June 22nd and were refused as they were over 25 years old will be reviewed and a fresh decision will issue.

However, Deputy Lowry, pictured above,  says that much more is required to effectively address this escalating issue of Ash Dieback for owners, particularly regarding the requirement to obtain Local Authority Planning Permission to remove an ash plantation. ‘Such a requirement is excessive’ he says, ‘if you wish to remove a diseased and dying ash tree and replace it with a conifer you are obliged to obtain Planning Permission to do so’ he says.

The Tipperary Deputy has consistently raised the issue surrounding ash trees during Priority Question in the Dail. Asking tough questions and demanding straight answers, Deputy Lowry has a particular interest in this matter due to the heavy plantation of ash trees across Tipperary.

Ireland’s native ash trees are under serious threat from disease as a result of the arrival of Chalara (now Hymenocyphus fraxinea) in 2012. This has caused Ash-dieback an infection that causes rapid decline and ultimately the death of young, middle aged and mature Ash trees across all of Ireland.

This poses risks to landowners for both public safety and deterioration of woodland cover and the ecological, social and economic benefits these woodlands provide. In turn, it is creating problems for forestry and woodland managers, as well as massively increasing tree related public safety.

The introduction of a new scheme by the Department in June 2020 granted assistance to owners of ash trees if the trees were less than 25 years old or less that 17m in growth height. Changes to these requirements are now in effect, but the matter of obtaining Planning Permission remains.

‘I will continue to fight for the owners of ash plantations in Tipperary and, in turn, across the country’ says Deputy Lowry. ‘I intend to challenge the need for owners for obtain Planning Permission in order to remove an ash tree’ he stated.

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