Improving Forestry Productivity

The forestry sector can now apply for a new round of Countryside Productivity Scheme which aims to improve productivity of farm and forestry businesses by making targeted investments to encourage best practice and innovation.  The Forestry  Commission sent out a national e-alert about this scheme and also about a reduction in the minimum area required to apply for woodland creation under the Woodland Carbon Fund or Woodland Creation Planning Grant.

Countryside Productivity Scheme (CPS) will offer large grants between £35,000 and £1million for up to 40% of the cost of investments in certain capital items. The full list and all guidance can be found on Gov.uk. However examples include:

  • Timber processors and harvesters which can fell, de-limb, cut to length and sort in one operation,
  • Wood chippers which are crane fed and capable of producing high quality wood chip from virgin fibre for biomass heating systems,
  • Construction of covered areas designed specifically for processing, storage and seasoning of timber and processed firewood. Stores specifically designed for woodchip may also be eligible.
  • The handbook contains full information and some useful examples. This round of CPS closes on 3 April 2018. RPA colleagues running the scheme will be joining us at the Confor Show at Longleat on 7 & 8 September which will be a great chance to meet them and ask your questions.

Countryside Productivity Scheme is focussed on encouraging businesses to make investments in specific larger capital items which have been identified as making the biggest impact on productivity in the forestry sector. LEADER grants also support forestry productivity and they can support smaller investments, with grants usually starting at £2500. They are often more flexible based on local need so may be able to support larger projects which fall outside the scope of CPS.

LEADER grants are available across most of the South West. They are offered by Local Action Groups (see map extract left) and so far grants have already been approved for forestry businesses to buy items such as firewood processors, forestry tractors, timber forwarding trailers, log splitters and mobile sawmills. Eligible projects include kit for woodland harvesting, small-scale extraction and processing, as well as adding value, creating alternative products and developing new forest technologies. Projects need to be able to show there will be an improvement in productivity and ideally sustainable employment. You can find out more and find the contacts for your local area on the Gov.uk website. LEADER funding is available until 2019 but we would recommend contacting them soon if you have a potential project so that they know whether they have sufficient forestry projects coming forward, even if you need some time to work up your application.

If you have read the guidance and are still unsure about whether your project is eligible, or who to contact, please get in touch with Kate Tobin
Local Partnership Advisor
Forestry Commission

kate.tobin@forestry.gsi.gov.uk