ARCHIVE: England Rural Development Programme

The Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS)

The Farm Woodland Premium Scheme was first introduced in 1992. It is continuing and expanding under the Programme.

Since the start of the FWPS in 1992 over 23,000 hectares have been approved for planting new woodland in England. This amounts to some 25 million trees, nearly 90% of which are broad-leaved. In the years 2000-2006, the aim is to approve an additional 3,000 hectares annually under the Scheme.

The objective of the FWPS is to improve the environment through planting farm woodlands, in particular to improve the landscape, provide new habitats and increase biodiversity. Birds, butterflies, animals, flowers, and fungi are among the species that benefit from woodland habitats.

The FWPS encourages farmers to plant and maintain farm woodlands by providing annual payments to help offset the annual income they lose by converting land previously used for crops or grazing animals. Farmers are also encouraged to realise the productive potential of woodlands as a sustainable income source. The payments, which are in addition to the planting grants under the Forestry Commission's Woodland Grant Scheme, support farmers until they are able to make a financial return from the timber production.

MAFF works very closely with the Forestry Commission to ensure that tree planting and environmental standards are maintained.

Annual payments of up to 300 per hectare are made for 10 years for woodland that is mainly conifers, and for 15 years for woodland which is mainly broad-leaved trees, such as oak and beech. The longer payment period for broad-leaved woodlands reflects the longer period of time before farmers can expect a return from their timber.

There is a joint application procedure for the FWPS and the Woodland Grant Scheme.

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