A grant initiative aimed at increasing the acreage of managed farm woodland in Wales is to close within five months.

The Better Woodlands for Wales scheme, managed by Forestry Commission Wales, will end from 1 January 2011. Landowners will instead be encouraged to sign up to the woodland element of Glastir, Wales’ new land management scheme.

It follows a review conducted by Forestry Commission Wales into how woodland grants should be managed to deliver the Assembly Government’s Woodlands for Wales strategy, which places emphasis on woodland creation and bringing farm woodlands into management.

But research does suggest that the existing scheme has not attracted enough farmers to manage their woodlands or to plant new woodlands.

Wales’ Rural Affairs minister Elin Jones believes the delivery of woodland grants via Glastir will establish a single, holistic approach to grant support for land management in Wales.

“As an integrated land management scheme, Glastir will offer support to woodland owners and farmers and will reduce bureaucracy by offering a one-stop-shop for rural grant aid,” she said.

The Commission will continue to deliver woodland creation grants until 1 January 2013, through Glastir. It will be involved in the design of the woodland creation grant scheme it will deliver from autumn 2010 on behalf of Glastir and it will also be involved in the design of the woodland grants that will be delivered by the Assembly Government via Glastir from January 2013.

● For information on the BWW scheme, contact Forestry Commission Wales on 0300 068 0300 or email FCWEnquiries@forestry.gsi.gov.uk.