Afforestation Programme

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:30 pm on 2nd March 2020.

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Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice 1:30 pm, 2nd March 2020

While there may be much that is laudable about this proposal, I have heard little reference to costing. Is there a business case for this policy? Does it involve taking any land into public ownership? Is there any assessment of the husbandry costs involved? Those are the sorts of things we have not heard about. If it is, in part, about incentivising farmers to grow trees, what is the nature of that incentivisation and will it have any adverse impact on food production? Finally, is this statement and its proposal, linked to what has been grandly called the Great Ulster Forest, which was in 'New Deal, New Approach', supposedly something to do with the centenary? Is this what the Great Ulster Forest is, or is there are some other proposition and, if there is, what is the relationship between them?