If you are thinking of planting a new forest, whether using currently owned marginal land, or the purchase of land for this specific purpose, now is as good a time as any to look into the grant funding availability.

In England, depending on the size of forest, the net income could be around £1,900 per hectare over 10 years, particularly if deer fencing and native broadleaf supplements are taken up. In Scotland, the net income could be even more, perhaps £2,350 per hectare over 7 years, if Central Scotland Green Network Funding is achieved in addition to the standard Woodland Creation Grant. Larger forests will no doubt benefit from “economy of scale”, and it is suggested a minimum area would be 25 to 30 hectares to make them viable, however, for marginal land or shelter belts, this is not unachievable.

It ought to be noted that there will be an initial cash deficit in both countries of £2,500 to £3,000 per hectare as the grant funding is only claimable/receivable after a successful application and the woodland has been planted. Initial ongoing costs up to around year 5 will also need to be considered too.

The tax benefits of forestry are also quite generous, not only from a Capital Gains Tax perspective, but also from a long term income tax perspective too.

If you are interested in looking into this further, there are a number of specialist land agents and woodland consultants around the country, with practical knowledge from planting right through to harvesting and marketing. An initial site visit to assess the land and its capabilities will no doubt be beneficial, and should give an overview of specific anticipated planting densities and general cash flow in your own circumstances. If you would like to visit a forest to see first-hand the processes of creation, thinning and harvesting, or to talk it through, then please contact us at advice@saint.co.uk and we will be happy to suggest forestry land agents who you may wish to contact.