WOODLAND OWNERS considering the new Woodland Management Grant might be better off seeking Entry Level Stewardship Scheme funding instead, says Tom Walker-Smith of Strutt & Parker.
Forestry Commission guidance states that WMG applicants will only be considered if the woodland has been certified to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard.
“Certification will be an expensive process. The concern is that the Forestry Commission will only be able to offer the WMG to a small number of certified woodlands in each region – it will be highly competitive.”
That meant some certified woodland would not qualify for the WMG, he added.
Owners could find themselves tied into certification agreements, obliged to manage woodland to assurance standards and having to meet all management expenses.
In some cases achieving Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) over woodland might be preferable, said Mr Walker-Smith.
“ELS will provide the same funding and may require less management and possibly complement a future application for the WMG.”