Case Study – Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme Grant Funding for Private Woodland Estate

Samuel & Son successfully obtained a Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) grant for a client, transforming the dynamics and capacity of the estate’s woodland management and log sale business.

Samuel & Son successfully obtained a Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) grant for a client, transforming the dynamics and capacity of the estate’s woodland management and log sale business.

The privately owned 350 acre woodland estate in East Sussex includes ancient woodland and parkland.  When our client acquired the estate in the late 1990’s, the woodland was still suffering from the effects of the 1987 storm, which felled at least 1000 trees, and years of neglect and sporadic management that had allowed the traditional woodland to be choked with invasive species.

Our client was committed to restoring the Park to its former glory, specifically re-establishing the traditional woodland.  A substantial Parkland Plan was drawn up and agreed with Natural England.  The project involved substantial mechanical and labour intensive operations which the estate was not equipped to tackle effectively at the outset.

DSC_0109In 2014 the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) consisted of small-scale grants targeted at improving profitability and growth in the woodland sector and to strengthen the woodfuel supply chain to ensure rising demand could be met effectively on a local scale.  As part of its regeneration plans, the estate had a growing log sale business that would benefit greatly from investment into state of the art technologies.

Samuel & Son were confident that there would be a strong case for grant funding and submitted a comprehensive application to RDPE on behalf of the client.

The application was successful and the estate obtained the maximum 40% grant funding for a range of new equipment to increase the efficiency and safety of woodland management:

45 tonne wood splitter – reducing the use of chainsaws and axes which has improved safety in the workplace and reduced fuel and oil costs.

radio controlled 5.5 tonne winch – allowing just one individual to control the winch whilst hooking up the logs.

forwarder and crane (heavy duty forestry trailer)  – carries more wood in one load, which reduces the number of journeys required to extract wood and therefore improves fuel and time efficiency.

Total Grant – £13,632

DSC_0108Our client was delighted with the result.  “The machinery has helped to revolutionise the forestry operation carried out within the estate. This improved efficiency has allowed the estate to maximise its use of the onsite biomass boilers and allowed the labour force to focus on other tasks such as controlling invasive species.  I am grateful to Willam at Samuel & Son for driving the application and ensuring it was as comprehensive as possible to give it the best possible chance of success.”

Whilst the FFIS has now closed, the Government has announced a new scheme for next year as part of the latest CAP reform.  The scheme has been referred to as the Farming and Forestry Production Scheme (FFPS) which we we anticipate will run in a very similar way to the old FFIS.  If you would like to register to receive details of the new schemes as and when information is released or discuss a project that may be eligible for funding then please contact William Fraser at Samuel & Son.  Tel 01435 864020.