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Environment Minister Edwin Poots, MLA has announced the next stage of the ‘Forests for Our Future’ programme by opening the Forest Expansion Scheme & Small Woodland Grant Schemes to encourage and help landowners plant their own woodlands.

The schemes can support all types of sustainable woodland with the Small Woodland Grant Scheme being designed as a simple online scheme for new native woodlands of 0.2 hectares and larger, while the Forest Expansion Scheme supports native woodland, mixed woodland or commercial conifer woodland that can best meet land owners business needs whilst contributing to a living, working, active landscape. Successful applicants to the schemes will receive up to 100% of eligible establishment costs and annual premia for a 10-year period.

Minister Poots said: I am delighted to announce the reopening of the Small Woodland Grant Scheme and Forest Expansion Scheme for 2021 on 22 June. These schemes are designed to attract and support farmers and other landowners to plant new woodland that compliments their land management objectives and add to our valuable woodland assets”.

“I am encouraged to see that 1.75 million trees have been planted to create almost 900 hectares of new woodland since I launched the Forests for Our Future programme in March 2020. These new woodlands have been planted by many private landowners and public sector organisations and will benefit individuals, community and society by contributing to a healthy, quality environment, and capture carbon from the atmosphere as they grow.”

Landowners who wish to plant this winter are reminded that all applications to the Forest Expansion Scheme must be submitted to Forest Service by 31 August 2021. All applications to the Small Woodland Grant Scheme must be made using the online system before 30 September 2021. Early applications are encouraged and can be made at anytime following the schemes opening today.

Further details are available on the DAERA website https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/daera-forestry-grants Alternatively, contact Forest Service on 028 6634 3103 or email: [email protected]