The aim of the scheme is to support landowners to implement economically, ecologically and socially sustainable forest management and use techniques to:
- promote the growth of forests,
- protect biodiversity, soil and water quality and the forest landscape,
- adapt forests to climate change, and
- increase the ability of forests to store carbon.
Under the scheme, which will run until 31 December 2027, the aid will take the form of direct grants, covering up to 100% of the eligible costs. The scheme will be open to companies of all sizes in the forestry sector. Today's decision follows the Commission's approval of a Irish scheme to support investments in afforestation on 2 August 2023 (SA.107220). Both schemes are part of the Irish Forestry Programme 2023-2027.
The Commission assessed the scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular Article 107(3)(c) TFEU, which allows Member States to support the development of certain economic activities under certain conditions, and the 2023 Guidelines for State aid in the agricultural and forestry sectors and in rural areas.
The Commission found that the scheme is necessary and appropriate to support and strengthen environmental protection, including biodiversity and climate action, and to contribute to achieving the environmental and climate-related objectives of the EU. Furthermore, the Commission found that the scheme is proportionate as it is limited to the minimum necessary, and will have a limited impact on competition and trade between Member States. On this basis, the Commission approved the Irish scheme under EU State aid rules.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the number SA.104922 in the State aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
- Publication date
- 24 August 2023
- Representation in Ireland