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The government has committed to planting 600,000 native trees. Shutterstock/Jane McIlroy

Government to plant 600,000 new native trees over next three years

The trees will be planted on Bord na Móna land.

THE GOVERNMENT IS planting 600,000 new trees over the next three years. 

The plan will see the trees planted on 1,500 hectares of land that will no longer be used for peat production. 

The government’s climate action plan commits Ireland to planting 22 million trees every year for the next 20 years. 

The native trees will be: 

  • Downy birch
  • Scots pine
  • Alder
  • Hazel and holly

These are among the most common native trees found in Ireland. 

Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton, who launched the plan alongside agriculture minister Michael Creed, said that it would create “rich, native woodlands”. 

“This project is a great example of how we can better use our resources to step up our response, to what is the most crucial issue of this generation,” he said. 

Creed said he would “encourage all public bodies” to think about planning for tree-planting. 

The project is a collaboration between Bord na Móna and Coillte Nature, which was created with the aim of developing new woodlands in Ireland. 

Bord na Móna announced in 2015 that it would fully stop harvesting peat by 2030, and that it was increasing its rehabilitation and restoration of Ireland’s bogs. Last year, it brought the end of peat forward to 2028. 

Chief Executive of Bord na Móna Tom Donnellan said that the plan will provide “new extensive rich habitat for native plants and animals and that also uses our resources in a sustainable way”. 

The trees will be planted on Bord na Móna land in Offaly, Laois, Westmeath and Tipperary. 

Irish progress on climate change has been routinely criticised. In September, thousands of people took to the streets to demand more action from the government on climate change. 

Last year, Ireland was rated as the worst performing EU country by the Climate Change Performance Index, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitting that the country was a “laggard” when it came to climate policy. 

In June, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency warned that the attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions were failing to reach both national and EU targets. 

An increase in carbox tax is expected in the upcoming government Budget, a measure that also has the support of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, which made strong gains in the last European and local elections in May. 

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