A grant scheme to encourage landowners, especially farmers, to create new woodlands on their land has been launched by Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones.
The woodland creation scheme aims to help to fulfil the commitment to create more native and mixed woodland as set out in Woodlands for Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s woodland strategy.
It is a bespoke element of Glastir, Wales’s new sustainable land management scheme, and offers grants to landowners to create new woodlands on their land.
The grants provide support for the costs of creating new woodlands as well as income foregone payments for taking land out of agriculture.
The Minister said that "Woodlands play an important role in helping us to meet many of society’s challenges and priorities, including climate change, biodiversity and water management.
Wales is one of the least wooded countries in Europe, with woodland covering only 14 per cent of the land area.
Every landowner here can play a part in increasing this by looking for opportunities to create new woodlands that integrate with and complement their farm businesses.
The Glastir woodland creation grants will assist the Assembly Government in fulfilling its promises to the people of Wales while also bringing a range of real benefits to the landowners managing their land and providing a financial return."
The launch event was held at Clynblewog Farm, near Trelech, Carmarthenshire. The Minister met the owners of Clynblewog Farm, Mark and Ann Sillars, before addressing the guests.
The Minister said "The adaptability of woodlands and the many uses they can be put to over their lifetime is a potentially valuable addition to any farm.
Strategic planting of woodlands has many benefits. They can be used to create shelterbelts for crops, stock or buildings, they can prevent run-off and reduce soil erosion or provide timber or fuel wood. Woodlands can also offer the opportunity to generate income from shoots as well as the benefits provided to wildlife and biodiversity".
The Minister then planted a downy birch tree outside the farm house before being accompanied by Mr Sillars on a tour around the farm to view a selection of woodlands which are at different stages of growth.
Mr Sillars has recently planted two areas of mixed woodlands to build on the planting undertaken by the farm’s former owner. These new woods are mainly broadleaf - ash, birch and rowan with larch, pine and spruce.
Mr Sillars said "I have used planting to provide shelter for my fields and to provide firewood.
The woodlands also add interest to the farm and I enjoy watching the trees change across the year.
I have found that forestry and farming can effectively work alongside each other to support my business and also enhance the environment".
The Minister stated that "Clynblewog Farm is an excellent example of how strategic planting of woodlands can be used to address issues on the land as well as enhancing the landscape.
This farm demonstrates the adaptability of woodland and the many uses it can be put to over its lifetime to benefit the farm".
The new woodland creation grants have been developed by Forestry Commission Wales which will deliver them on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government until 1 January 2013 when responsibility for delivery will transfer to the Glastir Team. For further information see the grants and regulations section on www.forestry.gov.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture caption: Elin Jones plants a downy birch tree watched by (left) Mark and Ann Sillars and (centre) Trefor Owen, Director of Forestry Commission Wales
NOTES TO EDITORS
Glastir Woodland Creation Grant Scheme
There will be three types of grant available to all landowners in Wales - woodland establishment grants, fencing grants and woodland creation premium grants. The maximum amount available under the grants will be £10,000 per hectare over the 15 years of payments. Grants for fencing are available where this is required.
Before applying to the scheme, landowners will need to contact the Assembly Government’s Rural Payments Division to obtain a Customer Reference Number (CRN) and to register the land if this has not already been done. Only one application to the woodland creation scheme will be accepted per land manager per year.
Forestry Commission Wales will provide Project Officer support to those who require it. The Project Officers will explain the scheme’s requirements to landowners and develop applications on their behalf at no cost to the applicant.
For further information see the grants and regulations section on www.forestry.gov.uk or contact email@example.com
Clynblewog Farm covers 350 acres. Over the last few decades, over 70 hectares have been planted utilising available grants. Today the farm is surrounded by native and other woodland. This has enhanced the physical environment, providing much needed shelter for the farm which is 600 feet above sea level and exposed on all sides, and has improved biosecurity on the farm. Mark Sillars is already using firewood from the older plantings and casualties in the native woodlands. He also expects them to produce timber in time.
Mr Sillars, whose planting builds on that of the previous owner, has recently planted two areas of mixed woodlands. These new woods are mainly broadleaf; ash, birch and rowan with larch, pine and spruce to further enhance the shelter. He has used planting to add interest to the farm, to provide shelter and to eliminate any stock to stock contact with his neighbour’s animals.
Clynblewog Farm is currently a mixed dairy and beef farm - 120 Friesian milking cows and 120 Hereford cattle for beef. The farm focused on milk production until 2004, when Mr Sillars decided to adopt a long term policy to withdraw from dairy farming over the next 10 years and simultaneously increase beef production.
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to other woodland owners and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 0300 068 0057
The Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones has announced a shift in approach to land management schemes in Wales. From 2012, the four existing agri-environment schemes will be replaced by one scheme, Glastir, which is better positioned to meet current and future environmental challenges. The announcement meets the One Wales commitment to undertake a review of programmes under Axis 2 of the Rural Development Plan. The four existing schemes are Tir Gofal, Tir Cynnal, Tir Mynydd and the Organic Farming Scheme.
Glastir is a whole farm entry level management scheme available to farmers across Wales.
This element of the scheme comprises of:
- The Whole Farm Code (WFC) - this applies to all the land entered into the contract.
- Management options - applicants will be able to select from a range of options which are best suited to their farm. A minimum number of options will be required in order to reach the points threshold.
For further information please contact: email@example.com