Make woodlands work for you: An update on grant funding for existing woodland

 A Woodland Management Plan (WMP) is the first key step in not only securing the necessary felling and thinning consents to manage woodland/forestry for the duration of the WMP (10 years), but also paves the way to accessing other funding through Countryside Stewardship (CS) Higher Tier application for woodland options, associated supplements, and capital items.

Having a Forestry Commission (FC) approved WMP is a pre-requisite before being able to apply for CS funding, and there is grant funding available towards the initial cost of creating a UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) compliant FC approved WMP.

The funding contribution to produce a UKFS compliant WMP is a standalone capital item. The basic requirements are a total woodland area of 3ha or more, that does not currently have an FC approved WMP in place, and both the land and applicant must be registered with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Funding is based on the total eligible area, as set out in the table below, showing the flat rates for each category and the additional payment per hectare above the minimum area. 

Total area of eligible woodland


3 to 50 hectares

Flat rate of £1,500

51 to 100 hectares

Flat rate of £1,500 for the first 50 hectares, plus £30 per additional hectare up to and including 100 hectares

More than 100 hectares

Flat rate of £3,000, plus £15 per additional hectare over 100 hectares

The window for WMP grant funding is open all year round, so an application can be submitted at any time. However, if you are intending to apply for CS Higher Tier agreement, it is advised that the draft WMP is submitted to the FC before the 31st of December the year before you intend to apply for Higher Tier to ensure at least approval in principle is obtained ahead of the CS Higher Tier application window.

The CS Higher Tier Woodland Improvement option provides a minimum payment of £1,000 per year for areas of 3ha to 10ha, with areas more than 10ha receiving £127/ha per annum. In addition to these payments there are supplementary payments for deer control and management (£105/ha per annum), and squirrel control and management (£60/ha per annum). An additional deer management plan and squirrel control plan will need to be drafted and approved, along with requirement for further specific monitoring/record keeping. However, if deer and/or squirrel management are already undertaken these supplements will be relatively easy to integrate, provided that accurate records can be kept.

The CS Higher Tier application also provides access to funding for capital items such as fencing, stone wall repairs, and gates. The recently updated payment rates are now better aligned with current costs and have increased the viability of woodland improvements.

PFK Rural can assist with all aspects of this process from initial checks that all the woodland is correctly registered with the RPA, through to completing a WMP and thereafter submitting a CS Higher Tier application and necessary claims for payment.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please contact our office on 01768 866 611. 

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Wednesday, 19 June 2024
PFK Rural - Chartered Surveyors in Cumbria

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