Friday, 10 October 2014

Business support for forestry businesses

The Forestry Commission has recently appointed a consortium of organisations to provide business support to forestry businesses across England.  

The objective of this support is to support forestry businesses in advance of the new grants within the new Rural Development Programme (RDP), set to start in 2015.

Mike and Max knew there must be an easier way!
A recent survey undertaken by the Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder showed that the average age of forestry machinery currently in use in Kent is around 20 years. 

Survey respondents identified 32 items of forestry machinery required to either maintain or enhance business performance.  

The cost of this machinery was just under £1 million:

Kelvin's tractor had
seen better days
  • The average cost ranged from £7,250 (firewood processor) to £70,000 (harvester/processor).
  • The majority of the equipment was allocated for purchase within the next two to three years (and no later than 2020).
  • Forwarders and firewood processors were the most frequently cited items.
  • Most investment is required in forwarding machinery (£315,000).

Mark's great great great Grandfather's
chainsaw was a bit smoky
These results indicate that substantial investment in forestry machinery is still needed in Kent in order to maintain or develop businesses performance.

The consortium, known as FACE (Forestry Advisory Consortium England), will provide free one-to-one business support.

Details of future schemes under RDP are still taking shape.  

However, based on the previous programme grant support may be available for (but not limited) projects involving machinery, training, business support, venison processing and initiatives involving collaboration.
Guy's harvester was not helped by the foam leftover
from the last woodland rave

Experience from previous rounds of these European Rural Development Grants shows that it will be important for forestry businesses to have good quality “oven ready” applications in time for the official opening.

FCE are encouraging businesses to register their interest in the support as soon as possible. 

Please choose from the appropriate regional contact below:

  • East England: Corinne Meakins 01842 819089
  • East Midlands: David Bole 07712 750549
  • South East: Matthew Woodcock 01483 326210
  • South West: Mark Prior 01392 834260
  • West Midlands: Simon West 01905 532212
  • North West: Penny Oliver 01524 565805
  • Yorkshire & the North East 07831 216024

Further details can be found here.

Rick's two horsepower log extractor was very thirsty
In parallel to business support the Forestry Commission is also delivering a series of workshops between September 2014 and January 2015.

To register for these events please contact Amy or Jude on 07502 985 921 or email  More details can be found here.

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