Heartwoods Newsletter Sept 2014

26/09/14 0 COMMENTS

Welcome to the Heartwoods Newsletter Sept 2014 and I hope that this run of favourable weather carries on well into the autumn, allowing unhindered work in the woods for as long as possible. A bit of dust is always preferable to mud!

Timber prices and strong demand are holding up, and in some cases continue to rise. Hardwood firewood lengths suitable for firewood processors are now being advertised nationally at £60/tonne at roadside. Standing conifer crops with good sawlog content are regularly fetching well over £30/tonne.

I think timber prices, the good weather and a general upsurge in activity explains the positive and buoyant mood evident amongst the majority of exhibitors and attendees at the recent APF demo event held at Ragley Estate in Warwickshire. The Small Woods Association had a stand at the show, in conjunction with the Deer Initiative, promoting the benefits of consuming more wild venison as a measure to help encourage deer control.

As an aside, if you hear of a life-size willow sculpture of a deer being offered for sale please let us know – someone stole it from our stand on the Friday evening, with witnesses even reporting they saw site staff helping to carry it on the understanding it had been purchased! Equally, if you hear anyone offering a second hand IW tipping trailer with cage sides please get in touch – we had one of these stolen from the Greenwood Centre a few weeks ago.

As a reaction to the growing risk of equipment theft the Arbtalk website has launched the industry’s first asset management and stolen equipment register. An intuitive user interface makes it possible for anyone to register and add any manner of equipment within minutes. The secure new website allows provision for managing business assets privately, as well as displaying your stolen assets publicly. Check it out: www.arbtalk.co.uk

I look forward to meeting many of you at our next event on October 24th or at the Wyre forest event on 17th October (see page 3). Please also remember we still have capacity to conduct woodland advisory visits so do get in touch with Will Tomkins or Harriet Wood on 01952 435860 if you would like to arrange a free visit.

Mike Bentley
Heartwoods Project Manager

Support for Forestry Businesses from FC England

17/09/14 0 COMMENTS

Forestry Commission England are promoting free support to forestry businesses in relation to new grants within the new Rural Development Programme, set to start in 2015.

Details of future schemes are yet to be decided or announced but if arrangements are similar to the last programme, the most obvious interest for grant support might include kit (timber harvesting, extraction and primary processing equipment), but potentially also storage, tracks and hard standing, specialist timber and woodfuel haulage, venison processing, training, business support, and advisory services.

The Forestry Commission is offering free support to forestry businesses with an idea to expand their business but which struggle to pull the necessary paperwork together. This support, provided by a consortium of forestry initiatives and specialists throughout England, who will help with business planning, financial forecasting, legal agreements, identifying the right technical solutions and the best fit grant.

Experience from previous rounds of these European Rural Development Grants shows that it will be important for forestry businesses to have good quality “oven ready” applications in time for the official opening.

FCE are encouraging businesses to register their interest in receiving this support as soon as possible. Please choose from the appropriate regional contact below

What’s your idea?

Heartwoods Newsletter June/July 2014

01/07/14 0 COMMENTS

Welcome to our latest newsletter which contains plenty of interesting information about what we’ve been up to, what’s in the pipeline and updates on some wider   issues. We’ve been busy with the final site visits gathering information on the undermanaged woodland resource in the Marches. The resultant Ground Truthing Report was presented at our most recent event and set the scene for discussions on the Marches Woodland Enterprise Zone (MWEZ), and the activities it should pursue. The event saw us join forces with Confor again for a conference at Worcester racecourse on June 24th.  Further information and a link to the final report is on page 2. In the run up to the start of the next RDP in 2015 we have been engaged in various meetings with Defra, FC, local Leader Groups and Local Enterprise Partnerships in order to make sure the forestry sector is represented. We hope this early-stage input at both national and local level will ensure that practical and effective measures will result. We will keep you informed as things emerge and we plan to provide a more detailed update of the four RDP schemes (NELMS, FFPS, Leader and Growth Fund) in the next Heartwoods Newsletter. Grown in Britain (GiB) is set to announce its eagerly anticipated licencing scheme which will allow UK woodland owners and timber businesses access to an affordable means of promoting the superb credentials of home grown timber. The scheme, which will be free to owners of small woodlands, sees retailers, trade suppliers,     processors, and woodland owners come together under a single logo which is proof of the timber’s origin and sustainability. It is a major step towards harnessing the strong desire to support well managed local woods.  More details in the next       newsletter but in the meantime keep an eye on www.growninbritain.org for news of how to be one of the first to apply for a licence. A quick reminder – we have a funded programme of advisory visits available.      Woodland related guidance relevant to tree health, wood-fuel, timber production, grants and licences is available through an initial visit from a Heartwoods officer. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a free visit. Finally, I look forward to seeing you at our next event on 18th July, a practical day out in the woods with Toby Allen and Aly May of Say It With Wood – see page 3. Mike Bentley—Heartwoods Project Manager Read more….Heartwoods Newsletter June July 2014

Ground Truthing the Marches Timber Study

27/06/14 0 COMMENTS

The Marches Timber Study Ground Truthing Report provides confirmation of the extent and nature of the undermanaged woodland resource in the Marches and provides further information highlighting the potential for the creation of a Marches Woodland Enterprise Zone (MWEZ). There are an estimated 28,000ha of undermanaged woodlands in the Marches, they consist of mostly mature and over-mature broadleaved trees. The volume of standing timber contained in these woods is estimated to be in excess of five million cubic metres and most of it is ideally suited to meet the growing demand for woodfuel – the renewable, locally sourced, low carbon alternative to fossil fuel. An annual target to thin 5% of the undermanaged area amounts to 1400ha per year being brought into active management and this will produce an additional 77,700 cubic meters of timber per year. Barriers exist which prevent this potential being delivered. Most of the barriers are associated with the skills, knowledge and objectives of woodland owners. The other main barriers are access related, and the current capacity of the woodland management and timber harvesting sector to mobilise this additional quantity of timber.

Marches Woodland Enterprise Zone Conference

27/06/14 0 COMMENTS

Thank you to all who attended the conference on 24 June.  Your contributions will go towards informing the development of the Marches Woodland Enterprise Zone, which will hopefully be of benefit to the whole forestry sector in the region.

The papers from the conference are now available:

Mike Bentley – Ground Truthing the Marches Timber Study

Simon West – Marches Woodland Enterprise Zone

 Graham Taylor – Hardwood and Softwood Timber Markets

Barnaby Wylder – Plant Health Update

Stuart Goodall – Grown in Britain Update

Heartwoods Spring 2014 Newsletter

07/05/14 0 COMMENTS

Available now:  Heartwoods Newsletter Spring 2014

Business resilience—help available

17/02/14 0 COMMENTS

We hear much about the resilience of our woodlands in the face of threatening pests and diseases. Important issues without a doubt, but just as important is the resilience of businesses in the sector—without them we would not have the means to manage the woodlands and bring timber to the market. Two things that might help:

Details of the final round of FFIS can be found on page two of the newsletter and these grants could be a welcome shot in the arm for forestry businesses needing to invest in new equipment.

The announcement made last week by Prime Minister, David Cameron outlining a range of measures aimed at helping businesses affected by the floods, including : a grant of up to £5000 to build in better flood protection;  a £10 million fund for farmers who have seen their land waterlogged; VAT, PAYE and corporation tax deferral for three months; and 3 months 100% business rate relief.

What constitutes a ‘business affected by the flooding’ is not entirely clear at  present but it would be worth keeping an eye on this announcement and the subsequent implementation.

Heartwoods Newsletter February 2014

Forestry Commission Tree Health Update

14/02/14 0 COMMENTS

The latest information from the Forestry Commission regarding Tree Health is now available: Issue2Jan14 (2)

Heartwoods Newsletter December 2013

19/12/13 0 COMMENTS

The latest Heartwoods Newsletter is now available – Heartwoods Newsletter December 2013

Heartwoods Project Officer Vacancy

19/12/13 0 COMMENTS

Heartwoods Project Officer

£24,000– £27,000 per annum (pro rata)

Full time 37.5 hours/week

The Small Woods Association (charity no 1081874) is seeking a project officer with knowledge of the woodfuel and forest management sector to continue delivery of our successful Heartwoods woodfuel programme across the West Midlands. The post is based at the Green Wood Centre in the Ironbridge World Heritage Site, Shropshire, and has a six month contract.

You must have experience in the woodland management or woodfuel supply chain industry and at least 2 years’ experience of project delivery in the forestry or land based sectors would be beneficial.   A qualification in these areas would also be an advantage. You will need to inspire woodland owners and help them to realise economic opportunities in their woodlands.  You will also assist with the delivery of high quality events to stakeholders.

Further details, a full job description, person specification and application form is available from http://smallwoods.org.uk/about-us/jobs/

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