Scrub control and felling diseased trees (SB1): Woodland capital grants 2015

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the scrub control and felling diseased trees capital item.

Foresters and other land managers can apply for woodland capital grants.

Read the accompanying guidance to find out more about Countryside Stewardship woodland capital grants 2015.

How much will be paid

Payment rates are set out in the following table.

Method of removal Stem diameter Percentage ground cover per ha Payment per ha
Machine cut Less than 7cm Under 50% £260
Machine cut Less than 7cm 50% and over £520
Machine cut 7cm and above Under 50% £520
Machine cut 7cm and above 50% and over £1,040
Manual cut Not applicable Under 50% £980
Manual cut Not applicable 50% and over £1,680

Where the item is available

This item can be used:

  • to control or manage scrub in woodland with the agreement of Natural England (NE) or the Forestry Commission (FC)
  • to remove immature trees that could spread disease and that can’t be economically felled

With this item, successful applicants can cut scrub or trees manually or with a machine. Manual removal is carried out on foot, with a clearing saw or chainsaw, and machine cutting from a cab, by a tractor fitted with a flail.

How this item will benefit the environment

This item will restore or maintain priority habitats and protect historic or archaeological features. It will prevent disease spreading from infected sites to the wider environment.


Applicants must get any relevant consents before an agreement can be issued. This may include:

  • consent from NE to use the item on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • consent from English Heritage to use the item on a scheduled monument
  • a felling licence from the FC

On the land

Applicants should discuss and agree the requirements for this item with their adviser.

Successful applicants will usually need to agree:

  • when to carry out the work
  • whether to cut manually or by machine
  • what to do with stumps
  • how to dispose of cut material
  • how to control regrowth and injurious weeds
  • how to fell all diseased trees within an agreed area
  • to remove non-symptomatic trees to reduce the risk of disease (as agreed with your adviser)
  • what biosecurity measures to use to avoid transferring disease to other sites

Keeping records

Successful applicants will need to keep:

  • consents received in connection with the application, including a felling licence if applicable
  • geotagged photographs of the area before and after completion of the work (these will need to be submitted with any claim)
  • an SPHN or letter from the FC or APHA confirming infection on the site, if you’ve been issued with one
  • records of when the scrub control was carried out and any associated spot spraying or weed wiping at the parcel level
  • a woodland management plan indicating the need for scrub control, if the scrub control takes place in woodland - this doesn’t apply to diseased trees
  • an implementation plan or feasibility study, if applicable, setting out the need for scrub control
  • bank statements and receipted invoices
  • a record of when you completed the work
  • a record of any pesticide or herbicide treatments, including dates and locations

How to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully but this advice is not compulsory.

Definitions of scrub, diseased trees and immature trees

Scrub means any woody shrubs, including European gorse, bramble and young trees. It doesn’t include dwarf or western gorse, so this item can’t be used to control those species.

The current eligible tree health issue is the removal of immature larch infected with Phytophthora ramorum on a site that has been issued with a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN).

An immature tree is one that’s up to 25 years old.

When this item can be used

It can be used:

  • if scrub is encroaching on to species-rich grassland
  • around archaeological sites or historic features
  • if species that depend on managed scrub are present, eg turtle dove and brown hairstreak
  • within woodland to create permanent or temporary open areas

How to remove scrub

To remove scrub, successful applicants should:

  • cut scrub to ground level
  • make sure not to disturb roots or leave protruding stems
  • use item TE12 - Stump grinding to remove stumps
  • keep the site free of scrub for the rest of the agreement

What to do with diseased trees

Follow the guidance in the SPHN.

Further information

Find out more about biosecurity in the FC’s Biosecurity Guide

Published 17 February 2015