Forest Reconstitution Scheme (Chalara)
A review of the national response to the Ash Dieback disease is currently underway. This includes a review of the Reconstitution Ash Dieback Scheme and the All Ireland Chalara Control Strategy (2013).
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD stated "It is time for a new approach in Ireland to Ash Dieback. It is clear from the latest scientific advice that eradication here is no longer considered feasible. Given this updated advice, our policy response must also change. The Reconstitution Ash Dieback scheme will be reviewed to ensure its continued relevance and value for money, and to ensure that the forest owner is provided with a broader range of silvicultural and management options".
The Minister continued "For farmers, this new policy response will mean more options if their forests are affected with the disease and we will continue to inform and support them if they have ash dieback. I believe many farmers with ash dieback on larger trees would like the opportunity to grow the forest on and produce a crop of ash timber without the fear of their annual premiums being stopped. As a first step, I am announcing with immediate effect that we will no longer be ending premium payments to farmers who wish to continue with cultivating their ash plantation where the prevalence of the disease is low".
Since the first finding of Chalara or Ash Dieback disease caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus in 2012 there are now over 560 plantations that have been confirmed with the disease in addition to other findings in nurseries, roadsides, gardens, farms and hedgerows.
The Department currently run two schemes that assist landowners with Ash Dieback disease. The Reconstitution Ash Dieback Scheme and the Woodland Improvement Scheme – Tending and Thinning.
The Minister confirmed that any existing applications already received for the Reconstitution scheme by the Department will be honoured in full and that any new applications (received after 13 April 2018) will be assessed under the new Scheme.