Forestry Commission Wales to probe grant scheme

Forestry Commission Wales has launched a project to examine whether the Better Woodlands for Wales grant scheme can deliver new targets for tree planting.

Methods of achieving the Welsh Assembly Government's target of creating 100,000ha of new woodland over the next 20 years are being scrutinised by Forestry Commission Wales.

The body is examining ways of meeting the target - to be delivered through the new Glastir agri-environmental scheme - in a new six month project.

The Better Woodlands for Wales grant scheme could play a key role in achieving the increased woodland cover, by encouraging farners to establish permanent woodland on lower grade agricultural land.

But in order to ensure the Better Woodlands for Wales grant scheme is up to the task, Forestry Commission Wales has set up a project to examine the scheme's design and to assess if adequate resources are in place.

Rachel Chamberlain, who has more than 15 years experience in developing and delivering forestry grants, has been seconded from her role as operations manager in Forestry Commission Wales's Grants and Regulations team to manage the six month project.

She said: "As farmers own most of the land suitable for tree planting in Wales, their involvement is essential to expand the country's woodland cover.

"It is therefore vital that we ensure the Better Woodlands for Wales grant scheme is able to engage with a wider group of landowners, particularly in agriculture.

"The project I am leading will identify the changes that need to happen to increase woodland planting in Wales and start putting these changes into practice."

Grants are available to plant or manage any area of woodland over 0.25 hectares through Better Woodlands for Wales.

For more details on the grant scheme please contact 0300 068 0300 or visit the website.>Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.


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