Minister reopens Forestry Grant Schemes for 2022

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots, MLA has announced the next stage of the ‘Forests for Our Future’ programme by opening the Forest Expansion Scheme & Small Woodland Grant Schemes to encourage and help landowners plant their own woodlands.

The schemes can support all types of sustainable woodland with the Small Woodland Grant Scheme being designed as a simple online scheme for new native woodlands of 0.2 hectares and larger, while the Forest Expansion Scheme supports native woodland, mixed woodland or commercial conifer woodland that can best meet land owners business needs whilst contributing to a living, working, active landscape. Successful applicants to the schemes will receive up to 100% of eligible establishment costs and annual premium payments for a 10-year period.

Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to announce the reopening of the Forest Expansion Scheme and Small Woodland Grant Scheme for 2022 on 15 June. These schemes are designed to attract and support farmers and other landowners to plant new woodland to complement their land management activity and add to our valuable woodland assets.

“I am pleased that in the last year land owners planted 525 hectares of new woodland under forestry grant schemes support. This is an encouraging response on our journey to increase the level of afforestation needed to reach the targets set out in the challenging Forests for Our Future programme.

“The reopening of our forestry grant schemes will enable private land owners and public sector organisations to bring forward new woodland creation projects for the forthcoming planting season.”

Landowners who wish to plant this winter are reminded that all applications to the Forest Expansion Scheme must be submitted to Forest Service by 31 August 2022. All applications to the Small Woodland Grant Scheme must be made using the online system before 31 August 2022. Early applications are encouraged and can be made at any time following the schemes opening today.

Further details are available on the DAERA website. Alternatively, contact Forest Service on 028 6634 3103 or email:

Notes to editors:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Annual premium payments are payable over a 10-year period where the land to be planted is in agricultural use.
  4. Land that was eligible and on which Single Farm Payment (SFP) was paid in respect of the 2008 scheme year and is subsequently converted to forestry under an EU scheme remains eligible for the duration of the Forestry Scheme.
  5. The schemes are funded through the Rural Development Programme, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and DAERA.