Start thinking about woodland grants now

FARMERS HOPING to claim new woodland grant cash should start thinking about their applications now, says the Forestry Commission.

Andrew Smith, head of grants and licences for England, said applications for the first round would open in November.

The Woodland Management Grant will pay £30/ha (£12/acre) annually while the Woodland Improvement Grant will make a fixed contribution to costs.

Limited funding of £5m annually meant that places were limited, said Mr Smith.

Owners with existing or recently expires Woodland Grant Scheme annual management agreements would receive priority.

But it was still worth those not in a scheme already applying because they would be first in line for the next round of applications, which opens in April, he said.

“The same application can be used.”

Mr Smith reminded farmers they could apply for the grants even if they were planning to include woodland as part of their entry level environmental stewardship schemes.

He said there was also a misconception that only woodland certified to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard could be entered into the new grants.

“This only applies to woods over 30ha, which is larger than many farm woods.”

But it was true that the grants would be far more competitive than entry into ELS, Mr Smith conceded.

“We only have the budget for 20% of the woodland in England.”


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