Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant open for applications

The value of wood as a sustainable resource, either as timber or as woodfuel is growing.

The Kent Downs has a long history of traditional coppice management and is well suited to respond to such market led opportunities.

Of course, sensitive and sustainable woodland management is crucial to the character and ecology of the Kent Downs and provides jobs for local people.  However, traditional sweet chestnut products are growing in popularity and new products are being developed.

The growing market for wood as a sustainable fuel, encouraged by the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder offers market opportunities for the lowest quality wood and ‘offcuts’ produced when creating other wood products.

The greatest opportunities lie in:

  • Using your own wood to supply your own heat needs;
  • Adding value to your lower quality wood by selling woodfuel locally, or
  • By selling the end product - heat.
The volatility and the inevitability of increasing prices of fossil fuel means locally produced woodfuel offers a secure and sustainable supply where production and supply is undertaken by local people.

The Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant offers support of 60% of the costs of:

  • roads, loading areas, tracks and other infrastructure which will allow you to harvest wood products;
  • assessing the amount of timber which could be sustainably harvested; and
  • the costs of managing harvesting contracts.
Further details can be found on the Forestry Commission website.

If you are interested you will first need an approved woodland management plan, for which the Forestry Commission also offer support through the Woodland Planning Grant.

Contact your local Woodland Officer for further information.

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