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Woodland creation grants now available in The National Forest

Monday, 19th October 2015

Woodland creation in The National Forest

As The National Forest approaches its first quarter century in 2016, there are still opportunities for landowners to take advantage of grant schemes available through the National Forest Company (NFC) to help create a legacy for themselves, their families and the nation.

The NFC’s woodland creation grants are available to all types of landowners within the 200 square miles of The National Forest: farmers, estate managers, businesses, schools, parish and local councils, charities and individuals. All can play their part in creating The National Forest, the biggest environmentally-led regeneration project in the country.

The grant schemes, offering up to 100% funding, encourage landowners to plant trees and create woodlands and related habitats, and add to the almost 8.5 million trees that have already been planted throughout the parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire that fall within The National Forest boundary.

The vision behind the Forest is that planting trees can bring about lasting economic, social and environmental impacts. As it grows, the Forest is creating jobs in tourism and woodland management, improving the quality of life for the people who live and work there and creating valuable habitats for wildlife. Great strides have been made over the last 25 years, as woodland cover within the Forest has tripled from a meagre 6% in the early 1990s to over 20% now.

Planting trees can be an option for landowners on otherwise less productive land: the landowner can get an income from thinning the trees to help the woodland develop and from a mature timber crop; trees can provide shelter for stock or for buildings; and screening can provide privacy and noise reduction.

When local businessman Chris Montgomery decided to create a woodland on land he had bought a few years earlier, he contacted the NFC for advice. “I wanted to create a woodland that could provide fuel for my family whilst also benefitting wildlife and providing a place for people to enjoy the woodland and the wonderful views through the woods. The National Forest Company has helped me achieve this,” said Chris.

Simon West, Head of Forestry at the NFC, said: “It’s great to see landowners, large and small, investing in the Forest and creating a legacy for the future. It is our children’s children who will really benefit from what we are doing here, and it’s a privilege to work with people like Chris and other landowners in the Forest to make this happen.”

The NFC offers a variety of tree planting schemes:

·    Changing Landscapes Scheme, for land over one hectare. This pays 100% of costs and the next round opens on 4 January 2016 (closes 8 April 2016);

·    Parkland and Wood Pasture Scheme, for land between a quarter and five or more hectares. This is particularly suited to areas of grazing land, and is open to applications all year round;

·    Freewoods is for smaller areas of land, between a quarter and one hectare, and is open all year round.

See more at:  www.nationalforest.org/woodlands/woodlandcreation/ or contact Simon West, Head of Forestry at the National Forest Company, on 01283 551211.

For landowners who have existing woodland on their land and who wish to know more about how to manage their woods, the NFC offers free advice on woodland management. Contact:  Charles Robinson, Woodland Management Officer on 01283 551211.