Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment 4th Jan 2021
Call for change in Coillte Principal Objects as illegal felling video released
Work stopped by residents due to recommence
An environmental charity has called on the Government to change Coillte Teo’ Principle Objects to add ‘social’ and ‘environmental’ to its sole current sole ‘commercial’ remit.
Friends of the Irish Environment released a video on social media over the New Years’ weekend showing residents stopping clearfelling of a Special Area of Conservation by Coillte Teo which was viewed more than 4,000 time over the weekend. The video, taken at Kilsheelan Woods in the Lower River Suir Area of Special Conservation, shows an extensive woodland area between the N22 road and the River Suir undergoing clearfelling.
The video shows the work stopping on December 18 when residents protested to Coillte on the site. It was viewed more than 3,000 times over the holiday weekend.
According to a statement issued by Coillte to Radio Tipperary after work halted on December 18, the State Forestry Board was ‘asked to assist’ after a request from Tipperary County Council and the Kilsheelan Tidy Towns Committee. The request was for assistance ‘in the removal of a series of Poplar Trees located alongside the N24 Limerick to Waterford route and the nearby Suir Blueway as they posed a serious public safety hazard.’ Trees posing an immediate risk to the public’s health and safety must be removed immediately’, the statement said.
According to FIE, ‘Landowners are only empowered to remove trees on the grounds of safety without consent if they are within 10 metres of the public road. The Forestry Act 2014 specifically states that Coillte does not have the power of a ‘public authority’ when seeking exemption from felling licences.
According to the environmental charity, ‘The core issue is that Coillte Teoranta or, in the English language, The Irish Forestry Board Limited, was set up under the Forestry Act 1989 with the sole principle object a commercial basis. No mention of the other two pillars of sustainable forestry – social and environmental – are included in this State Forestry Board’s principal objects.
The Government can not stand over its claim to be supporting ‘sustainable forestry’ if the Coillte is not legally required to balance environmental and social considerations with the commercial.
Tony Lowes, 353 (0)87 2176316 / 353 (0)27 74771
View the Video: https://twitter.com/FIEIRELAND
Briefing Note with links top documents: https://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/press-releases/17920-coillte-felling-in-special-area-of-conservation-challenged
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