A Good Practice Guide, Managing Timber Transport, was jointly launched on a trial basis today by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Tom Hayes TD and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) Alan Kelly TD.
Speaking at the launch of the document in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary, Minister Hayes said “I am very pleased to launch this important document with Minister Kelly. Responsible timber transport along our public roads is vital and I am pleased the sector has come together to work through the issues. This Guide provides a common framework for partnership in relation to good practice between all stakeholders, forest owners and agents, timber industry, timber haulage managers and local authorities. The trial period of some twelve months will allow the strengths and weaknesses of the Guide to be determined so that the final document will be as supportive as possible for all stakeholders.”
Minister Kelly said “Solutions to transporting timber on local roads can be achieved through good communications, planning and management, optimum vehicle selection and compliance with legislation and guidelines. I note that the Guidelines being launched today will form part of a package of measures to include:-
- A Technical Standard for the Design of Forest Entrances from Public Roads
- Data exchange on Forest Locations and Age
- Timber Harvest Forecasting
- Designated Timber Transport Routes (using the local authority roads management information system MapRoad)
- Industry liaison through the Forest Industry Transport Group
- Code of Practice for Road Haulage around Timber
- Reduced Vehicle Tyre Pressure Technologies
- Support Forestry and Public Road research
- Proposed simplification of consent system for forest roads
The aim is to seek effective systems for managing road entrances and timber transport that balances the interests of all stakeholders.”
The forest industry is of increasing importance to the national economy and is set for further significant growth with the annual timber harvest set to double over the next 15 years. Virtually all of this increase in the roundwood timber harvest is from the private sector. The objective of the Good Practice Guide is to develop a partnership approach for the management of round timber transport and to ensure that this activity is carried out in an environmentally sustainable and economically viable manner.
There are a number of recommendations within the guide which the Forest Industry Transport Group will endeavour to progress over the next few years and these will serve to benefit not only those involved in the timber industry but also local communities
The Guide was developed by the Forest Industry Transport Group with support from all the major participants in the industry, these include DAFM, DTTAS, Coillte, Timber Haulage Contractors, Irish Forestry and Forest Products association, IFA, Local Authorities, UCD, Irish Timber Council, Irish Timber Growers Association.