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Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced the next stage of the ‘Forests for Our Future’ programme by launching a new £4million grant scheme that aims to encourage and help landowners plant their own native woodlands.

Successful applicants to the Small Woodland Grant Scheme will receive a standard establishment grant to cover the cost of planting their woodland and will also be eligible for an annual premia for a period of 10 years when planting on agricultural land.

Announcing the Scheme, Minister Poots said: “Earlier this year I launched the Forests for Our Future programme, where I pledged to plant 18 million trees by 2030 and create 9,000 hectares of new woodland to help our environment and economy.

“To date approximately 574,000 trees have been planted and today I am pleased to announce the opening of the new Small Woodland Grant Scheme, with a fund of £4million, to support farmers and other landowners in planting native trees in smaller areas to complement their existing holdings and land management, and therefore helping us achieve the ambitious target under the ‘Forests for Our Future’ programme.

“I am continuing to lead the development of the Executive’s Green Growth strategy, which aims to transform our society towards net zero carbon by 2050, protect and enhance our environment and to sustainably grow the economy. ‘Forests for Our Future’ will be a foundation programme of Green Growth.

“Our woodlands are a hugely valuable natural resource and will benefit individuals, community and society by contributing to a healthy, quality environment, helping to capture carbon from the atmosphere as they grow and improve our landscape and biodiversity.”

Encouraging farmers and landowners to apply for the Grant Scheme, Minister Poots added: “Applications can be submitted for areas down to 0.2 of a hectare. The new scheme is simple to apply for using an online application and approval system, it provides a planting plan and map for applicants and grant is paid on a standard rate basis. The grant scheme will operate under the Area Based Scheme processes and all applicants require a DAERA Business ID to apply.”

All applications for the new Small Woodland Grant Scheme must be submitted using the online system by 11pm on Sunday 28 February 2021. The Scheme is planned to re-open in summer 2021.

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 3165 or email: [email protected]