Friday, 11 November 2011

£10m to boost woodland management for woodfuel

A new £10m grant scheme to revitalise woodland management has been announced by Forestry Commission England today, 10 November 2011. The new scheme aims to produce woodfuel by improving roads and access for extraction.

Around half of England’s woodlands are undermanaged. There are many reasons for this but one is certainly the high cost of extracting timber so that it can be brought to market. Supporting owners and managers to improve roads and access will reduce harvesting costs and once again make woodland management economically viable.

Pam Warhurst, Forestry Commission Chair said:
“There is an old phrase that says “A wood that pays is a wood that stays.” We are delighted to be able to launch this new scheme to revitalise the economic viability of sustainable woodland management by helping get timber to market. It will create rural jobs and help grow the green economy.”

Applicants will have to have long term management plans for the woodlands that meet the new UK Forestry Standard.  The plans will say how much timber they expect to harvest over the next decade so we will be able to see clearly what the benefits are from each new road built.

The new Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant (or Woodfuel WIG), will improve the infrastructure of undermanaged woodlands and contribute to the costs of marketing timber. As well as supplying the growing woodfuel market from thinnings and other operations, well managed woodland can also produce high quality timber. In turn this management improves the quality of woodlands for wildlife.

Woodfuel WIG is available throughout England but most of the funds are targeted towards the South East, South West and Cumbria, where there is greater potential for woodfuel supply.

This new grant is open for applications now and will operate alongside the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, recently launched by Defra to provide comprehensive support to the woodfuel supply chain.

Woodfuel Woodland Improvement grant key features
  • This new grant supports the sustainable production of woodfuel and other timber products and runs to the end of the 2013/14 financial year
  • Work will need to meet the UK Foresty Standard
  • The grant offers 60% towards the cost of work, and doesn’t take account of the timber income that results
  • To apply for a Woodfuel WIG, applicants must have an approved, up to date Woodland Management Plan, and work must be completed and claimed for by 28 February 2014
The following main operations are supported:
  • Roads, tracks and other infrastructure to assist the extraction of timber from woodland. Support will be based on 3 quotes and grant paid on the production of receipted invoices
  • Woodland inventory and costs associated with managing harvesting contracts. Support for this work is based on standard costs

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