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A review into grant rates for creating new woodland via the Better Woodlands for Wales (BWW) scheme is underway.
Even though the outcome of this review will not be known until later this year, Forestry Commission Wales anticipates that the grant rates will rise.
In order to encourage landowners to continue to plant new woodland, Forestry Commission Wales has announced that all new applications for woodland creation made from 1 April 2010 or already submitted will qualify for the revised grant rates.
The new rates will also apply to BWW schemes that have already been approved.
Richard Siddons, Head of Grants and Regulations at Forestry Commission Wales, said, "BWW was launched in 2007 and, since then, operational costs for woodland creation have changed.
"The purpose of this review is to ensure that our grant rates are in line with current costs.
"We are aware that the review could lead to uncertainty and may encourage landowners to delay entering BWW in case the rates are increased.
"We have therefore decided that all woodland creation applications made from 1 April 2010 or already submitted will qualify for the new grant rates which we anticipate will be higher.
"We hope that this decision will mean that landowners keep their applications coming in so that we avoid a surge later in the year.
"Woodlands can provide many benefits to landowners – shelter, water management, an increase in biodiversity, landscape improvements and timber – and we urge them to look into the grants and free specialist advice available via the BWW scheme."
The new grant rates will be published later this year on Forestry Commission Wales’s website. Staff will contact all existing BWW contract holders with approved plans for new planting to advise them how to claim the revised rates.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Better Woodlands for Wales
Grants are available to plant or manage any areas of woodland over 0.25 hectare through Better Woodlands for Wales. For more details on the BWW grant scheme please contact 0300 068 0300 or www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5z8jcr
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 at www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0300 068 0057.