Get planting before time runs out - Lyons

Date published: 17 February 2021

Environment Minister Gordon Lyons MLA has reminded farmers and other landlords that they’ve only a few weeks left to apply for funding to plant native woodlands.


The deadline for the £4million Small Woodland Grant Scheme, which is part of the ‘Forests for Our Future’ programme, is Sunday 28 February 2021.

Minister Lyons said: “Our pledge to plant 18 million trees by 2030 and create 9,000 hectares of new woodland will help our environment, health, economy and society as a whole. To date 670,000 trees have already been planted under the Forests for Our Future programme and they will help to capture carbon from the atmosphere as they grow and improve our landscape and biodiversity.

“Forests for Our Future is a foundation programme within the Executive’s Green Growth strategy, which I am leading on. It aims to transform our society towards net zero carbon by 2050, protect and enhance our environment and to sustainably grow the economy.

“The Small Woodland Grant Scheme is for farmers and other landlords, including estate owners, charities and local authorities, to plant native trees to complement their existing holdings and land management. The number of applications for the scheme has been encouraging and this will help us achieve our ambitious target,” the Minister explained.

Applications can be submitted for areas down to 0.2 of a hectare. The new scheme is simple to apply for using an online application and approval system; it provides a planting plan and map for applicants and grant is paid on a standard rate basis. The grant scheme will operate under the Area Based Scheme processes and all applicants require a DAERA Business ID to apply.

All applications for the new Small Woodland Grant Scheme must be submitted by 11pm on Sunday 28 February 2021. The Scheme is planned to re-open in summer 2021 in advance of the 2022 planting season.

Download more information

You can contact Forest Service on 028 6634 3165 or email:

Notes to editors: 

  1. Land that was eligible and on which Single Farm Payment was paid in respect of 2008 scheme year and remains currently eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme and is subsequently converted to forestry under an EU scheme remains eligible for the duration of the Forestry Grant Scheme.
  2. The schemes are funded through the Rural Development Programme, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DAERA.
  3. The Small Woodland Grant Scheme establishment grant is paid at £2,925 per hectare, 80% in year 1 and the remaining 20% in year 5. A fencing grant is also available where necessary to secure the new woodland.
  4. Annual Premia are payable over a 10-year period where the land to be planted is in agricultural use.
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  6. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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