Forestry & Woodland

Forests are a unique asset with the potential to produce a variety of benefits for their owners and users. Careful management is essential to maximise their potential.

Forest management planning is a thorough, structured and professional way to approach the management of your existing woodlands. The Countryside Stewardship scheme offers minimum grants of £1,000 for producing a Forestry Commission-approved woodland management plan for woodlands of 3ha or more in area. The management plan will guide future operations such as thinning and pest control and will also include a Plan of Operations setting out a programme of planned works and the anticipated volumes of timber to be harvested over a 10–year period. Other supporting documentation will include Compartment, Operations and Habitats & Features maps which can highlight ecologically sensitive sites, veteran trees or archaeological features.

Once in place, a management plan approved by the Forestry Commission will provide a right to carry out management operations such as thinning and felling without the need for a felling licence for 10 years. An approved plan may also enable access to additional funding such as the Woodland Improvement Grant which provides £100/ha, and funding for capital items such as fencing and gates.

All forest management is undertaken in accordance with the Forestry Act (1967) which controls tree felling via approved Felling Licences, and the UK Forestry Standard, the UK Government’s benchmark for sustainable forestry. Our long-term forest plans meet the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard and effectively integrate a wide range of objectives. We specialise in multi-purpose forestry to balance objectives such as timber production and biodiversity.

Climate change and increasing numbers of new pests and diseases represent novel challenges in woodland management. During our initial site assessment, we will discuss management options to resist these threats, such as diversification of species and age classes. Funding is also available under the Tree Health Restoration Fund for restocking woodland if diseased trees must be removed.

We will apply the same approach to new woodlands. Species selection will be carefully considered and matched to the site using tools such as the Forestry Commission’s Ecological Site Classification method. We also advise on designations such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Funding is available for creating new woodlands on previously farmed land. The English Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) has a minimum threshold of 1ha and pays up to £8,500/ha for new planting, including £1.60 per tree planted and additional funding for items such as tree tubes and deer fencing. The EWCO also includes a number of “supplements” which can bring in additional income above this basic rate. These include £2,000/ha for providing public access; £1,100 if the planting is made up of 80% native species (which will be true for most amenity broadleaf plantings), rising to £1,800 if the planting adjoins an existing native woodland; £500/ha if the woodland is close to a built-up area; and various different supplements for helping with different aspects of watercourse management.

The Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) offers two-stage funding for preparation prior to planting. Stage 1 will pay £1,000 for initial scoping including as required under the  EIA (Forestry) Regulations for woodlands over 5 ha.  Stage 2 pays £150/ha (minus £1,000) for preparing the documentation needed to achieve consent to plant.

Once planted new woodlands will also attract a maintenance payment of £200/ha per year for 10 years.  Woodland planted under a Government grant Woodland Creation Grant or the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Carbon Fund can also eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme.

Sale of carbon sequestered by a new woodland through the Woodland Carbon Code represents another promising new income stream. A typical commercial planting could generate an additional £40/acre PA through sale of carbon at current government reverse auction prices under the Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme.

There are a number of considerations to bear in mind when carrying out any operation on woodland and we can help answer any specific queries you may have as well as advise on short-, medium- and long-term management plans. We can help you in the following areas:

  • taxation & Inheritance Tax relief
  • valuations
  • grant eligibility
  • planting and establishment
  • woodland maintenance
  • woodland management plans
  • development potential
  • policy guidance
  • alternative land uses within forests
  • forest certification/ woodland certification
  • health & safety issues
  • biofuels and wood fuel heating installations
  • conservation and amenity
  • Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)

We can then register a new planting under the Woodland Carbon Code to generate valuable Carbon Units and sell these on your behalf. Please see our Carbon Capture and Trading page for details.

Michael J Steed

Michael J Steed

01392 823935