Farmers are being urged to crack on with tree planting sooner slightly than later, with the suggestion that grants underneath the brand new England Woodland Creation Supply (Ewco) are “pretty much as good because it’s going to get”.
The £16m scheme launched this week and Forestry Fee chairman Sir William Worsley, stated it will probably kind the idea of the woodland proposition underneath the forthcoming Environmental Land Administration (ELM) scheme.
See additionally: 9 causes to plant timber in your land
“This can be a holding place between now and ELM in 2024, however will probably be taken on,” he advised Farmers Weekly. “However as a result of we wish to see planting achieved now, to get farmers to interact now, the chances are high that the fee goes to be as beneficiant now as it’s ever going to be.”
Beneath the scheme, farmers and landowners will obtain as much as £8,500/ha to cowl 100% of the capital value of creating woodland.
Whereas that is the utmost fee, and precise charges will rely upon elements corresponding to the character of the positioning being planted, the species used and the necessity for rabbit and deer management, Sir William was assured the cash would cowl the complete value.
The Ewco can even make annual upkeep funds of £200/ha for 10 years, to cowl gadgets together with sapling alternative, pest administration and weeding.
Sir William described this as “fairly beneficiant” and instructed it will evaluate favourably to many Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy rents.
Moreover, scheme individuals may benefit from a “pallet” of extra funds, of as much as £2,800/ha, for offering additional public and environmental advantages, corresponding to public entry or flood management (see panel).
The Ewco types a part of the England Timber Motion Plan, introduced final month, and has a goal of 10,000ha of recent woodland – primarily, however not solely native species – planted by 2024.
This compares with the motion plan goal of seven,000ha a yr for England, and a UK authorities goal of 30,000ha per yr for the entire nation.
Sir William denied the Ewco goal lacked ambition, however stated discovering land for tree planting in England was tougher than in, as an example, Scotland. “That could be a reflection of the relative land high quality, but additionally we dwell in a really crowded nation, and there are many calls for on land,” he stated.
Regardless of this, Sir William was optimistic there can be first rate farmer take-up. “As farmers turn out to be extra conscious of their land high quality, they may discover areas the place tree planting really makes essentially the most cash.”
Ought to the scheme be oversubscribed, Sir William stated he can be asking the Treasury for extra funds, benefiting from the federal government’s present enthusiasm for tree planting.
He was additionally optimistic there can be adequate provides of saplings from UK nurseries, with the England Timber Motion Plan offering funds to assist tree nurseries elevate manufacturing.
The English Woodland Creation Supply in a nutshell
What does the Ewco entail?
- 100% capital grant of as much as £8,500/ha to plant timber
- Annual upkeep fee of £200/ha
- Minimal measurement requirement of simply 1ha an software and 0.1ha a plot
- Further contributions for offering wider public advantages
What extra contributions?
- £1,100-£2,800/ha for aiding species restoration
- £1,600/ha for planting close to waterways
- £500/ha for diminished flood danger
- £2,200/ha for permitting long-term permissive entry
- £500/ha for planting near settlements
- £400/ha the place planting helps enhance water high quality
Mark Bridgeman, president of the Nation Land & Enterprise Affiliation (CLA) stated landowners can be effectively suggested to check out the scheme.
“Funds for woodland creation underneath the Ewco are considerably higher than earlier schemes and the minimal software space has been diminished to 1ha, which ought to enhance curiosity in tree planting,” he stated.
“Larger customary funds, with non-obligatory dietary supplements for biodiversity, flood mitigation or entry provision, makes woodland creation underneath the Ewco a extra engaging choice than earlier than.”
NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts stated planting timber and managing larger hedgerows was a key a part of the NFU’s “internet zero” plan, although care wanted to be taken to make sure it labored alongside productive farming.
“It’s nice that this scheme will start to recognise and reward those that are planting timber for the multitude of advantages timber in all types can present,” he stated. “It’s additionally actually encouraging to see the administration of timber being funded.”
Why plant timber?
Planting timber affords farmers an opportunity to make higher use of the much less productive components of their farm, resulting in larger margins and a extra secure revenue.
“We have to use our productive farmland to develop good crops, however I do know from my very own farm there are areas the place we will earn more cash from rising timber than rising wheat,” stated Sir William.
The UK can also be the world’s second largest importer of wooden, delivery in 90% of necessities, so there needs to be a prepared marketplace for farm-grown timber.
After which there are the environmental advantages of woodland, corresponding to panorama enchancment, habitat creation and carbon sequestration.
Members within the Ewco can even have the ability to register underneath the Woodland Carbon Code, which can allow them to promote woodland carbon credit to personal patrons sooner or later.