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Forest chiefs want to see more woods take root on Merseyside- and they are pledging increased grants for landowners willing to branch out.
Creating places for people to walk, keep fit and relax is highlighted as a top priority today by the Forestry Commission in a revamped grants scheme targeting new woodland creation.
Research has shown that nurturing woodlands near to where people live is a key motivator in getting them to be more active and in promoting well-being.
Working with partners - including the Mersey Forest - many urban woods have already been planted, but more needs to be done. The new move will offer significantly higher grant rates for eligible scheme as an incentive to green the land.
Keith Jones, Area Director with the Forestry Commission for the North West, said:
“We’ve done a mapping exercise so we can target our grants better than ever before to meet Government objectives. Better community access to woodlands is a key issue on Merseyside and so it is a priority area for the top level of grant. Greening urban areas can also mitigate the effects of climate change, offer attractive settings for people and businesses and provide a refuge for wildlife.”
Woodlands cover just 3.8% of Merseyside compared to the national average of 8%. The £59m Newlands land regeneration programme has already had a significant impact creating Bidston Moss Community Woodland and two final schemes are underway with delivery partners at Wirral Waters and the Bromborough landfill site.
Creating more publicly accessible woodlands is one of the national priorities under the revamped English Woodland Creation Grant Scheme.
Other top aims include planting trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and alleviate the severity of flooding, linking together existing woodland habitats and creating productive woods to support the rural economy.
Grants up to £4,800 per hectare are available subject to being within targeted priority geographical zones, delivering against the relevant priority and other eligibility rules.
For more information go to www.forestry.gov.uk/ewgs or contact 01524 565800.
Notes to Editor
- English Woodland Creation Grant (WCG)
The basic planting grant for broadleaves and conifers has increased by £1,000 per hectare, providing a basic planting rate of £2,800 for broadleaves and £2,200 for conifers per hectare. Additional Contributions are provided to support delivery of priorities. New woodlands delivering key priorities will be eligible for an additional £2,000 per hectare. New woodlands delivering other priorities will be eligible for an additional £1,000 per hectare. Key priorities relate to the value that trees and woodlands can play in support of:
Water Framework Directive (WFD);
The aims of Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs)
Offering permissive access in Priority Places – such areas are based on data that includes populations, deprivation indices and existing public access provision.
Creating, connecting or expanding native woodlands to five hectares or more;
Creating new conifer woodlands up to three greater than previously restored native habitat.
Where eligible, WCG payments are supported with Farm Woodland Payments and compatible with Single Farm Payments. For further details go to http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6dcegu
- Forestry Commission England runs the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) to protect, improve and expand our forests, as set out in the government's Natural Environment White Paper www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/whitepaper/. EWGS is a part of the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE). Further information about these schemes can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/rural/rdpe/index.htm
- Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
- Media calls: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.