Ireland Forms New Steering Group to Examine Greater Use of Timber in Construction

Ireland announced on Tuesday (11-7-23) the creation of a new steering group to examine increasing the use of timber in Irish construction. The Interdepartmental & Industry Steering Group on Timber in Construction will be appointed by the Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine.

Launched in September, the new €1.3 billion (US$1.40 billion) Forestry Program offers attractive grants and yearly premiums for landowners to plant new forests for timber. Applicants can receive grants of €4,452 ($4,757) per hectare (2.47 acres), and annual payments of up to €863 (US$922) per year for 20 years to plant a new diverse conifer forest for timber production with 20% broadleaf species through the new Afforestation Scheme.

According to the press release, the government is committed to increasing the number of timber growers in Ireland and offers grants to fully establish new forests and support the management of the existing forest estate. The new Forest Strategy places a strong emphasis on the use of timber and its important role in reducing the amounts of concrete and steel in construction.

Speaking after the first meeting of the group on Monday, Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity at the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, said:

“We want to see more timber used in construction. Not only is wood a sustainable, home-grown product, but it can also replace steel and concrete, reducing the carbon footprint of our buildings. Timber used in construction is an excellent way of storing and locking up carbon, and has a positive impact on our climate. We know our forests bring great benefits for our climate, water quality, nature, and biodiversity—growing timber as a product for construction is also central to our climate efforts and to the future of the forest sector.”

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