This is a submission on behalf of the Environmental Pillar in response to the public consultation on Coillte’s strategic vision for its future forest estate. Our submission is informed by the decades of experience of our members who are actively involved in woodland conservation, sustainable forestry management, regulation of the forestry sector and wider environmental conservation.
At the outset we must highlight our disappointment with the format of the consultation, whereby the public are only afforded the opportunity to provide input via an online survey. The vast majority of the online questions are rhetorical and leading and aren’t supported with sufficient detail on specifically what Coillte proposes to do. Likewise, the lack of detail in the supporting report makes it extremely difficult to determine specifically what Coillte proposes to do. It is not sufficient for Coillte to say, for example, that lands will be managed for biodiversity without clarifying what that management will be, what conservation objectives will underpin that management and what habitats and species will be prioritised. Throughout the report Coillte has stated that their positions are based on the best available science but no supporting evidence is provided. This is a major weakness undermining the credibility of
the strategic vision report. In short there is insufficient ambition in places and elsewhere insufficient detail and supporting scientific evidence underpinning Coillte’s new strategic vision for us to determine whether this is an ambitious new vision or more of the same old vision with some superficial changes.