2017-11-27 

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Time To Plan Woodland Creation Grant Applications

Farmers and landowners who wish to apply for capital grants to establish new woodland are being urged to start preparing their applications.

A new round of the Woodland Creation Scheme has been announced, with the application window opening on 2 January 2018 and running until 16 February 2018.

Woodland

The scheme is offered under the umbrella of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Ryan Lindley, farm business consultant in Strutt & Parker’s Northallerton office, says:
“While the scheme does not officially open for another month, the application forms and guidance notes have been published to give farmers and other land managers enough time to build their case.

“For example, applicants are advised to contact their local Woodland Officer, at the Forestry Commission, before the submission window opens to receive advice and guidance which will help them to develop their application. The extra time also gives applicants an opportunity to order any maps they will need as part of their application from Natural England’s map request service.”

Under the scheme, landowners can apply for grants of up to £6,800/ha to pay for the planting of trees, and associated guards and fencing to protect them.

In order to receive support, the new woodland must contribute to meeting biodiversity objectives or flood risk reduction and cutting diffuse water pollution.

In general, there is a minimum area per application of 3ha, with a minimum block size of 0.5ha and a minimum width of 20m. However, in exceptional circumstances, smaller blocks of planting may be funded if it can be shown they will have a particular impact on reducing flood risk or pollution.

The new woodland should be made up of native species, but it can include a proportion of non-native or advancing/honorary species, such as sycamore.

Alongside the Woodland Creation Scheme grant, schemes over 10ha in area, with a planting mixture that includes a significant productive element, may be eligible for a Woodland Creation Planning Grant.

The planning grant is claimed under a separate scheme and is designed to help contribute towards the costs of gathering and analysing all the information that land managers will be required to provide as part of their application.

Mr Lindley points out that applicants also have the option to apply for Woodland Creation Maintenance Payments to support the maintenance of the newly created woodland resulting from the Woodland Creation Scheme grant agreement.

The maintenance payments are an annual payment of £200/ha for 10 years.

As an alternative to the Woodland Creation Scheme, landowners can consider the option of applying for the Woodland Carbon Fund (WCF) scheme.

The WCF provides support for the creation of large multipurpose productive woodlands in England which can help to meet government’s future carbon targets alongside delivering other benefits.

At present the minimum application threshold is 10ha, but the minimum area will rise to 30ha in July 2018.

Strutt & Parker

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