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English Preliminary Countryside Stewardship 2015 Now Open

Feb 20th, 2015


Preliminary Countryside Stewardship is now OPEN for 2015. This offers capital grants for woodland creation, tree health, and management plans in England.
Full Countryside Stewardship opens in July 2015 which will have additional capital grants and options for existing woodland.  These will include a multi-year option and capital items to support woodland improvement. Applications for woodland management plans and woodland tree health support will continue to be accepted throughout 2015. Guidance for the full scheme will be published in the spring, ahead of the scheme opening in July.

Options Available

Woodland Management Plan.
A minimum payment of £1000 is available for Woodland Management Plans for sites over 3Ha.

Woodland Tree Health
Restoration: Applicants can receive payment for the restocking of trees, following felling due to a tree health issue, but only if the trees are infected by Chalara fraxinea or Phytophthora ramorum. The Forestry Commission or APHA must confirm cases of Chalara fraxinea. Phytophthora ramorum infected larch has to be confirmed by a statutory plant health notice (SPHN). Payments available: £260/ha to £1,680/ha – dependent on stem size, and percentage of ground cover.

Improvement: The current eligible tree health issue is removal of immature larch infected with Phytophthora ramorum. There is also an option for rhododendron control to remove rhododendron that is infected with Phytophthora ramorum or Phytophthora kernoviae or within 3km of a site with a statutory plant health notice.Payments available: £2,800/ha, £3,200/ha, £4,400/ha dependant on the slope of the site and height of the rhododendron.

Woodland Creation
Woodland creation payments are offered through two main capital options which provide £1.28 per tree and £1.60 per individual tree shelter. This can also be supported with a woodland maintenance grant which offers £200/Ha annually for 10 years. This is the only annual option currently available. Woodland creation can also be supported by various options for stock, rabbit, and deer fencing.

When to Apply

Woodland creation applications
Applicants must submit woodland creation applications by 30 April 2015 to allow time for a site visit to take place and subsequent changes to proposals to be made (if necessary) ahead of the final deadline of 31 May 2015. Woodland creation agreements will be issued to successful applicants from June 2015. We advise applications are started ASAP.

Tree health and management plan applications
Applications can be submitted from 17 February 2015. The Forestry Commission must receive applications by 30 June 2015. Successful applicants will receive an agreement once their application has been approved. A draft agreement will be issued within 11 weeks this could take longer if there are major issues to resolve.


How to Apply

All applicants must register with Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Applicants will be given their ‘Single Business Identifier’ (SBI) once they have registered and their land will be placed on the rural land register.
Applicants must then register with Rural Payments system to receive a customer registration number (CRN) once registered.

Applicants must contact their Area Forestry Commission office to discuss their application. Each office can give applicants advice and let them know if they need to provide more information with their application. Applicants need to mark a map with their land’s boundaries and features, clearly showing the area of planned activity and location of proposed capital items, which must be sent with their application. The Forestry Commission will also arrange a site visit, if necessary.

Applicants need to complete the application form and send it with their annotated map by email or post to their Area Forestry Commission office for processing.

For woodland creation, applicants will also need to complete and submit the scoring form.

Mark Seed Forest and Land Management is registered on the new online system and can be mandated as your agent, to act on your behalf when dealing with the Forestry Commission and managing applications. All it takes is to fill out this Agent Authority Form.


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