Apply for a forestry grant
Woodland owners and forestry contractors can apply for grants to improve forestry productivity, through the Countryside Productivity Scheme.
Woodland owners and forestry contractors can apply to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) for grants to improve forestry productivity.
These grants are part of the Countryside Productivity Scheme.
Who can apply
The following people can apply for this grant:
- woodland owners or those who represent a woodland association
- small or medium-sized forestry contractors, with an annual processing capacity of less than 10,000 cubic meters
Check the size of the business applying for funding
The size of the business depends on the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees it has and its financial performance.
One FTE employee is anyone who works a minimum of 30 hours per week. A person working 30 hours a week for 3 months of the year would be 0.25FTE employee.
FTE employees include business partners and directors. If a business partner or director works more than 30 hours per week they still count as 1FTE employee.
Use the table to check which is the relevant category.
|Company category||Number of FTE employees||AND||Turnover||OR||Balance sheet total|
|Medium-sized||Under 250||€50 million (about £39 million) or less||€43 million (about £33.9 million) or less|
|Small||Under 50||AND||€10m (about £7.9 million) or less||OR||€10m (about £7.9 million) or less|
|Micro||Under 10||€2m (about £1.6 million) or less||€2m (about £1.6 million) or less|
The business will be treated as 1 business if it is linked with 1 or more other enterprises. The applicant therefore needs to consider the FTE employees and financial information of any other businesses to which they are formally connected.
Two or more enterprises are considered to be linked when they have any of the following relationships:
- one enterprise holds a majority of the shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in another
- one enterprise is entitled to appoint or remove a majority of the administrative, management or supervisory body of another
- a contract between the enterprises, or a provision in the memorandum or articles of association of one of the enterprises, enables one to exercise a dominant influence over the other
- one enterprise is able, by agreement, to exercise sole control over a majority of shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in another
Applicants can download and read further guidance on what is deemed formal connection in The new SME definition – user guide and model declaration.
Applicants will need to provide the following information for all linked enterprises:
- number of employees
- balance sheet information
How much funding is available
The applicant can apply for a grant worth up to 40% of the total eligible costs of the proposal.
The application can be for either:
- a small grant of between £2,500 and £35,000, or
- a large grant of between £35,000 and £1,000,000
What the grant will fund
Applicants can apply to fund woodland harvesting and extraction projects and small-scale processing. The project should enhance forestry potential or add value to forestry products.
Small scale processing is limited to chipping, splitting and sawing, using mobile or fixed machinery, undertaken either on, or immediately next to, the woodland holding, with an annual processing capacity of less than 10,000m3.
If the processing machinery is ‘fixed’ it shall be located either on or immediately next to the woodland holding.
Equipment which is eligible for funding
Grants are available to buy:
- winches and associated equipment for extraction (including skyliners)
- self-propelled wood chippers
- tractor-mounted firewood processors
- mobile saw benches or saw mills
Grants are available to buy the following items if they meet all Health and Safety Executive guidelines on rollover, operator and falling objects protection:
- timber processor and harvesting heads for primary processing of felled trees
- forwarders (log-moving vehicles)
- forest harvesters
- skidders – these must be used in line with UK Forestry standards
- tractor-mounted forestry grabs or tongs
Applicants can apply for funding for the following items if it can be shown that they produce woodchip that meets European chip size standards for biomass heating systems:
- tractor-mounted wood chippers
- trommel or other types of chip-screening equipment.
Applicants can apply for funding to buy the following as part of a firewood processor, or buy them separately to add to existing equipment:
- log decks
- log conveyors
- log lifters
- bagging shoots
Applicants can apply for funding for the following forestry trailers and cranes:
- trailers designed for hauling timber or logs
- cranes designed for extracting timber from woodland
These can be bought as a combined unit or, in the case of the crane, separately to fit an existing forestry trailer.
Quotations and specifications need to be sent that show that the equipment is specifically designed to haul or extract timber.
Applicants can apply for funding for the following items, but only in combination with other items identified as eligible above:
- firewood and wood splitters
- kindling machines
- bagging equipment associated with firewood processors
- covered areas for processing, storing and seasoning
- hard standing for processing, storing and seasoning
- moisture meters – these need to have an operational life of at least 5 years from the date of the final grant payment
The design of covered areas for processing, storing and seasoning must incorporate no more than 3 sides and any sides must be constructed with Yorkshire boarding or an equivalent design that is conducive to air flow.
Costs that are not eligible for funding
The following equipment is not eligible for funding:
- personal protective clothing
- standard or small scale tractors
- all-terrain vehicles
- tipping trailers
- flat bed trailers
- box trailers
- wood-fired boilers
Also see a list of costs that are not eligible for any Countryside Productivity grants.
How to apply
Register with Rural Payments
All applicants need to register with the Rural Payments online service (if they have not already done so).
For a small grant
To apply for a small grant, applicants need to complete a small grant application form – find out how to do this.
For a large grant
To apply for a large grant, applicants need to send an outline application to the RPA – find out how to do this.
If an outline application is accepted, the applicant will be invited to complete a large grant application form.
Applicants will need to send completed application forms and any necessary supporting evidence to RPA – read about how to send applications.
Evidence to send with an application
Find out what evidence you need to send with any Countryside Productivity small grant application or large grant full application.
For this grant, applicants also need to send the evidence set out below.
Woodland owners need to send evidence to show:
- the amount of woodland that the investment will be used on and its location
- the current value of the woodland area without the proposed investment (annual sales in cubic metres and £)
- the expected value of the woodland area with the proposed investment (annual sales in cubic metres and £)
- the area of woodland required to fully use any area of hard-standing or storage proposed
- how the proposal will contribute to the growth of the business through sales, added value and efficiency improvements
For any small processing investment the applicant will also need to confirm that they are sourcing the wood from woods and forests. Wood products like sawmill waste or material removed as part of tree management can’t be used.
Woodland owners will also need to confirm that they have a current woodland management plan for their woodlands. These must include estimates of the volume of wood they expect to produce for the next 10 years. They need to produce their woodland management plan for inspection if required - this could happen at any time during the project.
Forestry contractors need to send evidence to show:
- the current value of the woodland area managed without the proposed investment (annual sales in cubic metres and £)
- the expected value of the woodland area managed following the proposed investment (annual sales in cubic metres and £)
- the level of demand for services with the proposed investment – this should be quantified within orders and customer letters of demand
- the location of the above demand
- the area of woodland required to fully use any area of hard-standing or storage proposed
- how the proposal will contribute to the growth of business through sales, added value and efficiency improvements
For any small processing investment the applicant will need to confirm that they are sourcing the wood from woods and forests – waste wood products like sawmill waste or material removed as part of tree management cannot be used.
If applying to invest in moisture management, the applicant needs to show the premium that could be obtained for seasoned wood. To do this, the applicant needs to show the comparable value which could be obtained for unseasoned wood.
Forestry contractors will also need to send RPA letters of support, for example from customers, evidencing demand for their service (in hectares or tonnes).
An application will score more highly based on:
- the increased level of business the investment will generate
- the level of that demand the business can meet
Self-propelled forestry items
Special training is needed to use the forwarder, self-propelled chipper and other self-propelled forestry items. A grant will only be given when an applicant can show that they or a member of their staff has completed the relevant training.
- what happens after applying
- what to do if an application is successful
- what to do if an application is unsuccessful
Find out what other equipment is eligible for grants under the Countryside Productivity Scheme.
Applicants can apply for multiple small grants in one application, or multiple large grants in one application.
Applicants can’t apply for a mix of small and large grants in one application.
Published: 9 March 2015
Updated: 28 May 2015
- Added video about a contractor's experience of applying for a forestry grant.
- First published.