Woodland consultant calls for landowners to submit Forest Expansion Scheme applications

A WOODLAND consultant who celebrated planting her one millionth tree in Northern Ireland last year is welcoming news from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that the Forest Expansion Scheme is expected to go ahead next year in spite of the looming uncertainty of Brexit.

Woodland consultant Carolyn Trimble says she is delighted the Department  confirmed this week it fully plans to open the scheme again next year, irrespective of Brexit, and is encouraging landowners to avail of the grants to plant woodlands this year.

This week DAERA said: “DAERA plans to open the Forest Expansion Scheme next year. Irrespective of Brexit, funding for the scheme in the 2019/20 financial year is subject to usual bid for resources made in a new budgetary round.”

Carolyn, who owns woodland consultancy, IndiWoods, is urging landowners across Northern Ireland to avail of the 2018/19 scheme.

Speaking about the Forest Expansion Scheme Carolyn said: “Last year we celebrated planting one million trees and the numbers continue to grow as we were successful in all of our applications on behalf of landowners last year. We spent the winter planting native Irish woodlands right across Northern Ireland.

“All you need is a minimum of five hectares, the desire to have a 100 per cent funded grant, which also attracts an annual income of up to  £425 for 10 years, and, can be in addition to Single Farm Payments.

“You do not have to be a farmer. You simply need to have at least five hectares.”

The scheme, which encourages and supports 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.

Carolyn, who lives with her family in Co Armagh, said landowners who have previously planted woodlands are delighted with the growth, the increase in wildlife and are enjoying the diversification of the land.

She added: “Trees create new habitats, store carbon, make better use of land which is not easy to farm and improves our countryside visually.

“Trees can also reduce the negative  impact of flooding by absorbing water, attract bees for pollination and also encourages health and wellbeing benefits as people use their woodlands then for a variety of uses including outdoor yoga, camping or walking and cycling trails. This is great as we have watched tourism businesses develop as a result of the scheme uptake.”

There are two deadlines this year – August 31 and September 28. Applications must be submitted prior to these dates. Contact Carolyn on 028 3752 7100 or email trees@indiwoods.com

 

ENDS:

Notes To Editor:

  • IndiWoods is a woodland consultancy specialising in securing government funding for farmers and landowners who wish to plant trees on their land.
  • For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379

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