A licence for the clearfell of 6.54 hectares of trees in Garryduff Woods was granted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to Coillte in October 2018. The area that Coillte intends to cut is at the southern end of the forest. 6% of the trees in this area are broadleaf oak and beech, estimated as having been planted in 1863. A very small area is Douglas Fir and Juniper Larch. The remaining almost 60% is Sitka Spruce planted in 1970. The felling licence is at this link:
I’m guessing not many of us knew that a felling licence had been granted to Coillte for Garryduff Woods. When a felling licence application is received by DAFM, they advertise it on their website and there is a period of time during which the public can make comment. However there was no requirement for Coillte to put up a site notice.
What has alerted us to the possible loss of the Garryduff Woods that we know and love is that Coillte has now applied for a Forest Road Licence application to remove trees from the area it proposes to clearfell. They must stick up a site notice for this. The proposed road would run for 360 metres alongside the lower river. Building it would involve clearfelling a width of at least 15 metres. The Forest Road Licence application is here:
Coillte is obliged to replant the area they clearfell. The felling licence application shows that their replanting intentions are for 100% Sitka Spruce for future harvesting.
This is devastating for all of us who love Garryduff Woods, who rely on it for recreation, for space, for a bit of wildness in an urban environment. It means the loss of habitat for the red squirrel, badger and so many other avian, mammal and insect species.
We are in a period of public consultation on the Forest Road Licence application. You can make a submissions free of charge in relation until 26th June 2020. Your submission can be sent by post to:
Approvals Section, Forestry Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford
or by email to:
You can express your views in your submission and they will be taken into account by a Forestry Inspector when s/he is considering the application. Make sure you provide your name and address and quote the reference number: CN86326.
This is my daughter during lockdown in the area of the forest which Coillte wants to decimate to build the forest road. Heartbreaking.