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A network of experts trained to help farmers and other land owners to apply for the new Glastir grant to create woodlands on their land is now complete.
Forestry Commission Wales, which developed the new grant on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government, has trained 60 project officers spread throughout the country to guide people through the process of creating new woodlands.
The new grant, which was launched at the end of October, aims to help fulfil the Assembly Government’s commitment to increase the amount of tree cover in Wales, as well as the range of tree species.
The increased level of grant on offer reflects the Assembly Government’s strategy, Woodlands for Wales, which emphasises the need to plant more woodlands.
Under the new scheme, farmers could get up to £9,000 per hectare to plant new woodlands on eligible land, as well as a contribution towards fencing costs.
Richard Siddons, FC Wales head of grants and regulation, said that, as farmers owned most of the plantable land in Wales, their involvement was essential to expand the country’s woodland cover.
“Integrating woodland grants into Glastir, the new sustainable land management scheme for Wales, will help the Welsh Assembly Government to meet the challenges of climate change, water usage and soil, protection for valuable habitats and biodiversity,” he said.
“The project officers we have trained will help to prepare applications for farmers and other landowners in Wales who want to take advantage of the new woodland creation grant.
“All the officers are forestry experts and the service they provide is free of charge to the landowner.”
As well as helping to tackle climate change by locking up carbon dioxide, planting more trees could result in a range of other benefits to farmers.
Geraint Jones, Glastir Project Officer for Coed Cymru, said, “The Glastir woods package presents a brilliant opportunity for farmers and landowners to increase woodland cover on the farm.
“It’s a win-win situation. Trees will provide shelter for stock, establish buffer zones to tackle diffuse pollution along water courses, enhance the value of the farm, promote and increase biodiversity as well as providing a source of woodfuel in years to come.”
The new grant is a stand-alone section within Glastir. Landowners do not need to have applied for the Glastir All-Wales element and it will not have any effect on any future application to Glastir.
Farmers and landowners will be able to quickly check if they are eligible for the grant with the help of a Map Viewer, which can be accessed on the FC Wales website, showing areas where trees can be planted.
FC Wales will continue to deliver woodland creation grants until January 1, 2013 via Glastir on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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.
For more information on the woodland creation grant, visit the FC Wales website at www.forestry.gov.uk/glastirwoodland or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an information pack, or phone 0300 068 0300 and ask for the Glastir technical services officers.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Clive Davies, email@example.com, 0300 068 0061.