Uimhir Thagarta Uathúil: 

Cross cutting Issues

2.2 Coillte’s Forest and Panels Businesses

Forestry in Ireland has the potential to double in size over the next 10 years and Coillte will play a leadership role in this growth. We use innovative technology in our supply chain and forest management practises are independently certified by FSC®2 (Forest Stewardship Council®) and PEFC™3 (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Our forests and forestry products are also playing an increasingly important role in mitigating the effects of climate change. MEDITE SMARTPLY, our panels manufacturing business, is the market leading manufacturer of environmentally produced, sustainable timber construction panels. Exporting its products to over 30 countries, it also manufactures Smartply Propassiv in our plant at Bellview port Co. Kilkenny, which is the world’s first airtight panel, as classified by the Passivhaus Institute. In 2016 Coillte invested €60 million on innovative technology for the Smartply facility to expand both production capability and our range of products.

3.0 Sustainable Development

We support Kilkenny Co. Co.’s commitment set out in the Issues Paper that sustainability and in particular, environmental sustainability, will be central to the Development Plan. In this regard the Development Plan should prioritise and provide positive support for the development of renewable energy projects in Kilkenny, where appropriately located and in the interests of proper planning and sustainable development. Coillte is proud to be an established leading renewable energy developer in the state. To date, through our role as Landowner and developer we have enabled in excess of 40% of all operating wind farms which are delivering renewable energy to both domestic and industrial consumers. Coillte lands have enabled the development of Ballymartin, Lisdowney, Foyle and Ballybay wind farms in Co. Kilkenny. Our programme of operating wind farms provide enough renewable energy to power 300,000 homes.

Experience has proven that the profile of the Coillte’s lands possess some of the best wind regimes in Europe due, inter alia, to their altitude, expansive area, aspect and location. They are also particularly suitable for wind farms, large scale solar and energy storage projects due to their remoteness, already established accessibility for forest operations, distance from dwellings, proximity to the national grid infrastructure and the lower visibility amenity relative to areas with high scenic amenity.

Coillte lands have demonstrated multi-functional potential for co-existence use, including renewable energy, high amenity value and recreation. They provide a unique opportunity to create next generation added-value and innovative places. For example, in working to realise the potential of our estate for renewable energy developments, we carefully consider the social, economic and environmental impact a project may have on its surrounding area. As part of growing a sustainable business, we procure and afforest replacement lands to compensate for every hectare of land that may require tree felling to enable the future delivery of our projects. Coillte encourages Kilkenny Co. Co. to take this opportunity assess the potential that can be harnessed from suitable areas of the county to assist in meeting our climate change challenge and to further capture the range of benefits that follow for local communities, industry and for the broader national agenda.

Furthermore, in the context of sustainability, we recognise that the proper treatment and disposal of waste water is a key challenge to the sustainable growth and health of our nation. The existing modus operandi where approximately 400 waste water treatment facilities have no licence and are not monitored simply cannot continue and must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICWs) can provide an environmentally friendly and cost effective solution to help address this problem, particularly for small agglomerations in rural locations, while also providing an enhanced recreational amenity. Certain Coillte lands can provide locations for the development of this proven technology across a range of sectors including agriculture, food, residential and rural towns.

Fiafraigh / freagra a thabhairt ar cheist nó faisnéis a bhaineann leis an observation seo a roinnt.