Trees provide homes for wildlife, shelter and shade for people and livestock, and they give us greener, healthier places in which to live. They reduce the risk of flooding, produce the oxygen we breathe and lock up harmful carbon from our atmosphere. But they can also offer a source of sustainable timber and fuel. With energy bills on the rise, more and more people are switching to wood burners to heat their homes. Another incentive is the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme which opens this spring and will be providing subsidies to householders who use sustainable wood fuel for heating and hot water.
One option for those lucky enough to own land is to plant their own trees.
Due to CAP reform, a gap in government funding for tree planting was due to open up until 2016, however some funding will now be available thanks to Woodland Trust campaigning. This is a positive step, but for those who can’t get government grants, the Woodland Trust can offer support, funding and advice through its MOREwoods scheme – covering up to 60% of the cost of planting.
Now is therefore a great time to grow your own trees. John Tucker, the Trust’s director of Woodland Creation, says: “The increasing focus on energy security and cost means that you should plan your future energy needs now. If you own a suitable piece of land, you could be coppicing your own firewood within a decade depending on what tree species are planted, with a sustainable woodfuel supply thereafter. The Woodland Trust will also check that the land is suitable for planting and offer advice on woodland design and choice of species.”
MOREwoods is supported by Biffa Award, Calor and Dorset Cereals. To apply or find out more, call 0845 293 5689, email email@example.com or visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees