Third phase of Forest Expansion scheme now open in Northern Ireland
The third phase of the Forest Expansion Scheme has opened in Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced.
The Scheme, which is intended to encourage and support landowners who wish to plant their own woodland, is funded through the Rural Development Programme, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DAERA.
Chief Executive of the Forest Service, Malcolm Beatty said: “The opening of the third phase of our Forest Expansion scheme is good news for landowners and the environment. It will provide support for farmers and landowners to plant woodlands of five hectares or larger this coming winter.
“To date the Scheme has provided £1m of grant aid to support over 400 hectares of new woodland which will make a valuable contribution to the economy through production of wood for processing, enhancing the landscape, providing places for people to enjoy and an important habitat for wildlife.”
Successful applicants to the Forest Expansion Scheme will receive up to 100pc of eligible establishment costs and annual premia for a 10 year period. The Scheme is competitive, meaning that projects must conform to the UK Forestry Standard and that it favours bids with lower costs and which are part financed by the applicant.
Applications are scored higher by incorporating into their woodland plans services such as public access, storage of forest carbon to mitigate climate change, better wildlife habitat, larger woodland scale and planting on land with potential to mitigate flood risk.
Applications for the Forest Expansion Scheme must be submitted to Forest Service by 3.00 pm Friday 29 September 2017 for the 2017/18 planting season.