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Woodland – Time for a health check?

Thu 3 December 2020

As we know, Countryside Stewardship will continue to be offered in 2021, 2022 and 2023, with the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme scheduled be in place in 2024. Since its introduction many farmers and land managers have made use of Mid-Tier, Higher Tier and the Hedgerow and Boundaries grant but many aren’t aware of the Woodland Tree Health Grant (WTHG).

The Woodland Tree Health Grant is a standalone capital grant agreement for supporting Tree Health Restoration and Tree Health Improvement. Phytophthora ramorum is a disease which is can cause extensive damage and death to trees with Larch and Sweet Chestnut being the species most susceptible to damage. Phytophthora ramorum is just one of the diseases affecting the UKs woodlands with Ash Dieback (Chalara) also having a devastating widespread impact on the UKs native Ash populations. Sweet Chestnut Blight is not as wide spread as the two aforementioned diseases however there are a number of outbreaks in the South West.  Each of the three diseases are classed as notifiable, if you think you might have one of these on your property and would like further information click on the links in the table below.

Applications for the grant are open throughout the year and to be eligible for the grant, there is a minimum agreement size of 0.25 hectares and individual blocks of woodland must be no smaller than 0.1 hectares. The WTHG is not competitive and applicants can either apply for both Tree Health Restoration and Tree Health Improvement, or apply for just one.

As with most capital items under Countryside Stewardship, agreement holders will have two years to complete the works.

Woodland Tree Health Restoration

Tree Health Restoration is designed to provide support for restocking woodland after felling due to a tree health issues. Below is a list of the diseases eligible under the grant.

Tree health disease

Trees affected

Eligibility requirements

Phytophthora ramorum

Larch, Sweet Chestnut

Infection must be confirmed by a statutory plant health notice (SPHN)

Chalara (Ash dieback)

Ash

Forestry Commission or Animal and Plant Health Agency must confirm infection

Sweet Chestnut Blight

Sweet Chestnut

Infection must be confirmed by a statutory plant health notice (SPHN)

(Source:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5f7ec634d3bf7f019c864f3c/Woodland_Tree_Health_grant_manual_Countryside_Stewardship__From_15_July_2020__v2.0.pdf)

There are eight capital items that are available through the grant. To apply for the Tree Restoration grant it is mandatory that you must be applying for Tree Planting (TE4) to be eligible for the scheme. There are additional options available, which might be appropriate for your holding, to assist with protecting newly planted woodland.  

Code

Code Name

Payment Rate

TE4

Tree planting

£1.28/tree

TE5

Individual tree shelter

£1.60/unit

FG1

Fencing

£4/m

FG2

Sheep netting

£4.90/m

FG4

Rabbit fencing supplement

£2.50/m

FG5

Fencing supplement difficult sites

£1.24/m

FG9

Deer fencing

£7.20/m

FG12

Wooden field gate or wooden wings

£390/gate

FG14

Badger gate

£135/gate

FG15

Water gates

£240/gate

(Source:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5f7ec634d3bf7f019c864f3c/Woodland_Tree_Health_grant_manual_Countryside_Stewardship__From_15_July_2020__v2.0.pdf)
 

Payments will be capped per hectare depending on the types of trees being planted and whether the site is an ancient woodland. The payment caps are based on the average grant per hectare and includes the cost of trees and capital items.

Restocking tree species

Ancient Woodland Site

Other

Native

£3,500 per hectare

£2,750 per hectare

Non-native

£1,750 per hectare

£2,250 per hectare

(Source:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5f7ec634d3bf7f019c864f3c/Woodland_Tree_Health_grant_manual_Countryside_Stewardship__From_15_July_2020__v2.0.pdf)
 

Woodland Tree Health Improvement

The Tree Health Improvement grant is designed to provide support for the removal of diseased trees and infected rhododendron. There are two options available under this grant which are detailed further below.

Tree health disease

Eligibility requirement

Basis of grant

Payment Rate

The removal of immature Larch (up to 25 years old) infected with Phytophthora ramorum

Infection must be confirmed by a statutory plant health notice (SPHN)

SB1 – Scrub control and felling diseased trees

Between £260 and £1,680 per hectare depending on method of removal, stem diameter and % ground cover

The removal of rhododendron that is either infected with Phytophthora ramorum or Phytophthora kernoviae or at high risk to infection

The site must be subject to a SPHN or within 3 kilometres of a site with a SPHN.

SB6 – Rhododendron control

Between £2,800 and £4,400 per hectare depend on the slope of site and rhododendron height

(Source:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5f7ec634d3bf7f019c864f3c/Woodland_Tree_Health_grant_manual_Countryside_Stewardship__From_15_July_2020__v2.0.pdf)

If you would like more information or assistance applying for the above grants, please call 01392 439 046 to be put in touch with your local professional.

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