Working Woodlands brings £1.17 million to boost Cornish wood industry

Objective One has helped create a new support package bringing £1.17m of grant aid and support services to boost Cornish businesses that grow wood, work with locally produced wood, or sell products made from local wood.

The Working Woodlands project will provide a £420,000 contribution in capital grants towards a planned total investment by these businesses of £1.1 million. There will also be around £800,000 of “paid for” support services available over the next two-and-a-half years to help them develop plans to market their goods and services, investigate new products, improve quality and identify training needs.

The Working Woodlands project has already worked successfully in the South West through the Objective 5b programme. Now, through the Objective One programme, the new funding package will build on that work to help Cornish businesses develop a more secure and profitable future.

Chris Bow from Working Woodlands said: “Through the combination of grants and targeted support, we aim to help 600 Cornish businesses during the lifetime of this project.

“We calculate that, with the money available, we will be able to help the industry to grow and create 90 new jobs, as well as safeguarding a further 150, by increasing the use of locally produced timber.”

There are currently around 14,800 hectares (36,556 acres) of private woodland in Cornwall and 3,000 hectares (7,500 acres) of Forestry Commission plantations together producing around 40,000 cubic metres of wood per year. About half of this wood is used locally for firewood, fencing and sawn timber. A small amount is exported to the Continent as quality hardwood and the remainder is sent out of Cornwall for processing.

Mr Bow explained that Cornwall is never likely to produce wood on a scale to support its own large-scale processing facilities but has considerable scope for developing smaller scale businesses involved in sawing, grading, kiln-drying and processing both hardwood and softwood.

He added: “There are also good prospects for the continued growth in small-scale enterprises which add value by producing high-quality goods like furniture.”

Working Woodlands can provide grants of up to 38% for businesses in Cornwall & Scilly for woodland management planning; road and access work; timber crop improvement or protection; construction and/or renovation of workshops and other premises; equipment and plant; development of new products and processes; IT equipment and software; and brochures, leaflets and exhibition material.

Although it will not fund new planting, Working Woodlands will be able to help farmers and landowners with the management of their woodlands and aims to bring a further 400 hectares of Cornish woodland back into sustainable timber production.

The Working Woodlands project will get grants of £583,000 from both the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and the UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

For more information contact:
Working Woodlands
Barton Farmhouse, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 6ED
Tel: 01803 867891
email: the.barton@btinternet.com


Editors notes:

Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388