Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, has confirmed that Better Woodlands for Wales (BWW), the woodland grant scheme delivered by Forestry Commission Wales (FCW), will close with effect from 1 January 2011. Woodland grants will be integrated into Glastir, the Welsh Assembly Government’s new sustainable land management scheme for Wales.
This change is the result of a review carried out by FCW into how woodland grants should be managed to ensure they deliver the Assembly Government’s Woodlands for Wales strategy.
FCW will continue to deliver woodland creation grants until 1 January 2013 via Glastir on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Woodlands for Wales strategy, which was launched in 2009, places particular emphasis on woodland creation and bringing farm woodlands into management.
However, research has shown that the BWW scheme has not attracted enough farmers to manage their woodlands or to plant new woodlands. And, as farmers own most of the plantable land in Wales, their involvement is essential to expand the country’s woodland cover.
Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones said:
“The delivery of woodland grants via Glastir will establish a single, holistic approach to grant support for land management in Wales.
“As an integrated land management scheme, Glastir will offer support to woodland owners and farmers and will reduce bureaucracy by offering a one-stop-shop for rural grant aid.”
The BWW scheme will close to new applicants at the end of December 2010 and all contracts for work supported by BWW must be approved by 31 December 2011.
Forestry Commission Wales will be involved in the design of the woodland creation grant scheme that they will deliver from Autumn 2010 on behalf of Glastir and it will also be involved in the design of the woodland grants that will be delivered by the Welsh Assembly Government via Glastir from January 2013.
For information on the BWW scheme, contact Forestry Commission Wales on 0300 068 0300, email FCWEnquiries@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or see www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
NOTES TO EDITORS
Better Woodlands for Wales (BWW)
The Better Woodlands for Wales (BWW) grant scheme is delivered by Forestry Commission Wales within which grants are based on a BWW management plan which is developed in stages.
All BWW applications (whether they are existing registered applications or new applications) will be given until 31 December 2010 to complete to Foundation Plan approval stage.
No new applications to BWW will be accepted after 31 December 2010.
All registered BWW applications must be approved by 31 December 2011.
From January 2012, Forestry Commission Wales will continue to manage BWW as a legacy scheme until approved contracts expire.
Glastir is the new sustainable land management scheme for Wales. It replaces Tir Gofal, Tir Cynnal, Tir Mynydd and the Organic Farming Scheme/Organic Farming Conversion Scheme and now Better Woodlands for Wales.
Glastir has been designed to meet the challenges of climate change, water usage and soil, protection for valuable habitats and bio-diversity. The new scheme has two main elements – ‘all-Wales’ and ‘targeted’ in addition to a separate all-Wales ‘common land’ element. There is also an additional funding source for organic conversion and an Agricultural Carbon Reduction and Efficiency Scheme (ACRES) for energy efficiency improvements.
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14% 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 the private sector 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
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