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Good News for Woodland Owners

The news that it is the Forestry Commission’s intention to bridge the “gap” in aid between the end of the English Woodland Grant Scheme and the commencement of the Countryside Stewardship is good news for woodland owners,” says Mike Dyke, H&H Land and Property’s Forestry Specialist.

The English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS), established under the previous Rural Development Programme and run by the Forestry Commission, came to an end last year. During this time, the scheme has assisted many landowners with the management of woodlands, creation of new woodlands, installation of woodland infrastructure and re-stocking after felling. It has been widely utilised and exceedingly beneficial to the sector.

Mike Dyke

Mike Dyke

Later this year it is to be replaced by Countryside Stewardship (CS), a combined scheme with what was Environmental Stewardship and Catchment Sensitive Farming. However, concerns were raised with the Forestry Commission, that the “gap” in aid between the end of EWGS and the start of CS would be detrimental to the industry. This is especially so for those responding to Statutory Plant Health Notices, perhaps due to a Phytophthora ramorum disease outbreak, and those wishing to establish new woodland.

“However, we heard yesterday that the Forestry Commission’s intention is to make a ‘Preliminary Grant Offer’ which is expected to be available from mid February until May 2015.” says Mike.

The Forestry Commission have suggested that applications will be considered for three items:

  • Woodland creation

  • Woodland improvement for plant health issues

  • Creation of a Woodland Management Plan

Mike Comments: “For many woodland owners it is concerning that as yet, few details have been released regarding the start of CS and the benefits to woodland owners this may bring, but we do know that to be eligible for any woodland grants a Woodland Management Plan will be required to support all applications.

“Therefore, we are urging all woodland owners who may have interest in future woodland grants under Countryside Stewardship to make use of the preliminary grant offer to create a woodland management plan. This will ensure that they have sufficient evidence to support their eligibility for a woodland grant through CS as soon as the window opens.”

Woodland grants help woodland owners in ensuring a well-managed woodland resource, and the Woodland Advisors within the Environmental Team at H&H Land and Property have the latest information to provide advice and support for these applications.

HH Land

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