Third phase of Forest Expansion Scheme now open

Date published: 10 July 2017


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today announced the opening of the third phase of the Forest Expansion scheme.


The Scheme, which is intended to encourage and support landowners who wish to plant their own woodland, is funded through the Rural Development Programme, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DAERA.

Chief Executive of the Forest Service, Malcolm Beatty said: “The opening of the third phase of our Forest Expansion scheme is good news for landowners and the environment. It will provide support for farmers and landowners to plant woodlands of five hectares or larger this coming winter.

“To date the Scheme has provided £1million of grant aid to support over 400 hectares of new woodland which will make a valuable contribution to the economy through production of wood for processing, enhancing the landscape, providing places for people to enjoy and an important habitat for wildlife.”

Successful applicants to the Forest Expansion Scheme will receive up to 100% of eligible establishment costs and annual premia for a 10 year period. The Scheme is competitive, meaning that projects must conform to the UK Forestry Standard and that it favours bids with lower costs and which are part financed by the applicant.

Applications are scored higher by incorporating into their woodland plans services such as public access, storage of forest carbon to mitigate climate change, better wildlife habitat, larger woodland scale and planting on land with potential to mitigate flood risk.

Applications for the Forest Expansion Scheme must be submitted to Forest Service by 3.00 pm Friday 29 September 2017 for the 2017/18 planting season.

Download information booklet and application form

Alternatively, contact Forest Service on 028 6634 3019 or email:

Notes to editors: 

  1. Land on which Single Farm Payment (SFP) was paid in the 2008 scheme year or subsequently and was converted to forestry under an EU scheme remains eligible for SFP (or the successor Basic Payment Scheme) for the duration of the Forestry Grant Scheme.
  2. The Forest Expansion Scheme – Establishment Grant is competitive and those projects which maximise delivery of scheme objectives at minimum cost, that is to say those offering best value for money, will be prioritised and selected for funding. Successful applicants may receive up to 100% of eligible costs, however bids with lower costs may make your application better value for money and more likely to be selected for funding.
  3. The Forest Expansion Scheme – Annual Premia are payable over a 10 year period. To be accepted into the scheme the land must be in agricultural use.
  4. Follow us on Twitter @daera_ni.
  5. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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