§ Mr. Peter Mills
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why, under the small woods planting scheme, grants are not allowed for maintenance by the countryside commission; and if he will make a statement on the working of this scheme.
§ Mr. Strang
I take it that the hon. Member is referring to the new small woods scheme, designed to encourage the establishment of small woods, copses and spinneys, which was introduced on 1st October 1977 by the Forestry Commission. In view of the short time the scheme has been in operation, it is too early to make a valid assessment of its606W impact, but its introduction has been generally welcomed.
Under the scheme, landowners are paid a single grant in two instalments for the establishment of woods between one-quarter and 10 hectares; 75 per cent. of the grant is paid after satisfactory planting of an approved crop and the balance five years later provided the wood has been properly established and maintained. The owner is not required to manage the woodlands in accordance with an approved plan of operations, as he would be under the Forestry Commission's dedication schemes for larger areas, and thus no management grant is given.
Details of the small woods scheme, together with other grant-aid schemes for woodland owners, are contained in the Forestry Commission's booklet "Advice for Woodland Owners". The booklet, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House, also makes reference to the grants available from the Countryside Commission for small amenity plantings.