Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, Cathal Boylan MLA, is urging landowners to apply for grants under the Forest Expansion Scheme, currently open in support of management and expansion of existing woodlands.
The opening of the third phase of the scheme, which is and part financed by the Rural Development Programme and DAERA, is intended to encourage and support farmers and landowners who wish to plant or expand their own woodland of 5 hectares or more.
Mr Boylan said:
“The Forest Expansion Scheme, The Forest Protection Scheme and Woodland Investment Grant are a welcome opportunity for protection and enhancement of our environment and woodlands.
“These schemes will greatly improve the management of existing woodland, building more vibrant and resilient ecosystems in our forests, and in our rural communities.
“At a time when we must all respond to the global challenge of climate change, moves like these empower local landowners to protect wildlife, their habitats, and the entirety of our natural environment.
“I would urge anyone who is eligible to apply for a grant to do so without delay. Application forms as well as further information can be attained online through the DAERA website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/daera-forestry-grants
“Alternatively, Forestry Service can be contacted on 028 6634 3019 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The Newry Armagh representative added:
“Grants are available for land owners including estate owners, charitable organisations, local councils and farmers.
“Applicants should be aware that land on which Single Farm Payment was paid in the 2008 scheme year or subsequently and was converted to forestry under an EU scheme remains eligible for Single Farm Payment for the duration of the Forestry Grant Scheme."
Applications for the Forest Expansion Scheme must be submitted to Forest Service by Friday 29 September 2017 for the 2017/18 planting season.