Selling all or part of your property?
If you have recently sold, or are thinking of selling, your land and have received annual payments (usually Farm Woodland revenue foregone payments), it is important that you notify the Forestry Commission of the sale of the land, generally within three months of the date of transfer. However, schemes have differing timescales so please refer to Operations Note 014 – Change of ownership general information in all cases for specific details about your scheme.
A new owner may succeed the original scheme and benefit from any remaining grant payments. Generally the new owner must submit an application to succeed a scheme within 12 months of the date of transfer to them. However schemes have differing timescales so please refer to Operations Note 014 – Change of ownership general information in all cases for specific details about your scheme.
Advice for Sellers
If you are, or have been, in receipt of WGS or EWGS annual payments - but especially through either the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS) or Farm Woodland Payments (FWP) - and you have either recently sold, or are considering selling, your property, it is extremely important that you contact your local area administration office to make them aware. There are strict EU rules which must be complied with when selling a property where annual payments have been claimed, details of which can be found in the recently updated Operations Note 014 – Change of ownership general information.
We encourage all those selling a property to ensure that the purchaser succeeds to the scheme. Again, there is a strict timescale in which such a succession must be instigated, details of which can again be found in Operations Note 014.
Failure to either notify the FC of the sale of a property, or failure of the new owner to succeed to the scheme is likely to result in the FC having to recover all payments made to the original agreement holder(s).
LEADER grants are available across most of the South Westand they are keen to encourage forestry businesses to apply soon. Eligible projects include kit for woodland harvesting, small-scale extraction and processing, as well as adding value, creating alternative products and developing new forest technologies. Projects need to be able to show there will be an improvement in productivity and ideally sustainable employment. You can find out more and see the contacts for your local area here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rural-development-programme-for-england-leader-funding. We would recommend contacting them soon if you have a potential project so that they know whether they have sufficient forestry projects coming forward, even if you need some time to work up your application.
Growth Deal grants are currently available for rural businesses for business development, food processing and rural tourism infrastructure. These grants are unfortunately not available for core forestry business investments, but since many of you might also have an interest in other projects or investments, we thought we would bring the grants to your attention.