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England endorses major planting scheme

 Friday, November 17, 2017

conforjpgThe largest productive tree planting scheme in England for more than 25 years has been approved on a site on the fringes of the Lake District National Park.


More than 213,000 trees will be planted this winter over 170 hectares at the Lowther Estate, south of Penrith, Cumbria. Just over 120 hectares of the site will be planted with productive softwood species, while the remainder will be predominantly productive broadleaves.


Confor’s England Manager Caroline Harrison said the granting of Countryside Stewardship approval was “brilliant news” for the sector – especially with other large productive planting schemes in the pipeline awaiting approval.The driving forces behind both Lowther and similar applications have highlighted the Woodland Creation Planning Grant as the key which unlocked the planting opportunity.


The Lowther planting site is known locally as Jack’s Wood after the recently retired estate forester Ian Jack.


David Bliss, Estate Manager for Lowther Estate, a Confor member, said: “We are extremely excited to have gained consent for the largest conifer planting scheme in recent times. The successful application is entirely down to Ian Jack. Woodland Creation Planning Grant funding helped him plan and gain approval for this magnificent commercial woodland, which will in the fullness of time support many local jobs and associated forestry businesses. We now look forward to the challenge of planting.”


Confor campaigned for the introduction of the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) to de-risk the early stages of the forest planning process by funding the cost of initial environmental assessments and engagement with local communities and other stakeholders. “This is brilliant news and we are now seeing the combined fruits of Confor’s hard work and the determination of applicants like Ian Jack – and proving that it is sometimes a small investment early in the process that can make all the difference,” said Caroline Harrison. “The WCPG really has been the key to unlocking new productive planting at scale.


“We have seen productive planting plummet to its lower level in a generation, but Confor has continued the fight to turn the tide – and now we are hopeful of really gathering some momentum behind new productive planting.” Caroline added further.



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