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29 NOVEMBER 2012 NEWS RELEASE No: 15746

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Revised map offers more potential for woodland creation

Forestry Commission Wales is urging landowners to reconsider applying for the Glastir woodland creation grant scheme if their land was not eligible when the scheme was first launched.

Thanks to changes to the map that is used to assess applications to the grant scheme, planting trees may now be possible in some areas where it was previously not permitted.

The revisions to the map mean that some land moves from the “red” area, where no planting is permitted, to “amber”, where consultation about site specific issues is required to decide if woodland creation may go ahead. The consultation process includes contacting relevant organisations and a site visit.

Bill MacDonald, Forestry and Environment Policy and Programme Manager, Forestry Commission Wales said, “When the Glastir woodland creation grant scheme was launched, many landowners were not eligible to apply as their land was designated as being in the red area.

“However, we have found that using the map-based information alone to assess applications is not sufficient and so, having consulted with stakeholders, we decided to revise the map.

“These changes reflect our experience that, with careful consideration and consultation, woodland creation may be appropriate in some areas where planting was previously not permitted,”

The woodland creation scheme is part of the Woodlands Element within Glastir which is available to all landowners in Wales.   Applicants receive specialist advice from a woodland consultant free of charge who will check the woodland creation opportunities map to see if the land is eligible for planting, explain the scheme rules and develop a planting plan and the grant application.

Glastir Woodland Creation is administered by Forestry Commission Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government and enquires should be directed to bww.ts@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or 0300 068 0300.  The map can be viewed on the Forestry Commission Wales website (click on the Glastir grant link on the home page).

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The woodland creation opportunities map is used to help decide where new woodland, supported by the Glastir Woodland Creation scheme, may be planted.   It has been in use since September 2010 and it provides a guide for landowners and land managers by using a “traffic light” approach which means that:
• green areas are those where there are relatively few concerns about new woodland planting
• amber areas are those where there are some concerns but these can be dealt with through appropriate consultation
• red areas are those where creating new woodland would be considered inappropriate

2. The changes to the map recognise that the information it contains can only go so far in helping to make a decision about new woodland planting.  By moving areas from the red zone to the amber zone, greater emphasis is placed on decision making on the ground after visiting the site and balancing all the issues involved.

3. The detail of the changes to the map includes:

a. Areas of potential habitats listed under Section 42 of the NERC Act have been moved out of the “red” zone and into the “amber” zone.  This is because the mapped information about these habitats is large scale and site visits have frequently found that the actual habitats on the site are different from those which are mapped. These sites will be assessed as part of the consultation process.

b. Following consultation and agreement with Cadw and the Welsh Archaeological Trusts, the Historic Landscape Character areas have been changed to “amber” consultation areas to ensure a consistent approach to dealing with the Register of Historic Landscapes. Many areas within the Register would traditionally have been treeless and, where appropriate, these will be retained. However, other Historic Landscape areas could actually be enhanced through appropriate and sympathetic planting. Therefore, a consultation process has now been developed to ensure the appropriate and effective delivery of planting applications within the Register of Historic landscape areas. This change in designation will be reviewed after a year.

c. The peat areas, which are included in the “red” area on the map, have been updated.

e-mail: bill.macdonald@forestry.gsi.gov.uk