Monday, 21 May 2012

Practical workshop on woodland management planning and stakeholder engagement

Making the most of woodlands: Practical workshop on woodland management planning and stakeholder engagement

The Sylva Foundation, BioRegional and the Forestry Commission warmly invite you to attend this free event which aims to help you identify and realise the opportunities which exist from managing your woodlands. 

This event will take place in the following locations:
If you would like to register for your free place at either one of these events, please so do by following the relevant link below:
Event details:

Well-managed  woodlands can potentially provide you with a host of benefits and opportunities. This event will support you in working with your woodland by:
  • Identifying  possible markets for your woodland products with a session on producing for the woodfuel market.
  • Introducing free tools and resources to help you manage your woodlands.
  • A practical interactive session in the afternoon to demonstrate their use.
Experts will be on hand to advise you on aspects of management such as surveying and increasing the productivity of your woodlands.

The day will include the launch of a new resource to help in your engagement with your local community and other stakeholders who you may need to deal with through your woodland work, and as part of the process of developing an UK Woodland Assurance Standard management plan.

The new guidance pack and free promotional materials will help to guide you through this process, and a local woodland owner will be there to offer their first hand experience.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Invitation to view Econergy biomass installation

Econergy will be holding a seminar at the Valley Park Community School on the 8th June to discuss wood heating solutions and demonstrate the Froling wood chip boiler installed at the venue.

Learn how this installation has provided four years of sophisticated low carbon heating for the school, visit a working wood boiler and learn how to progress your own wood heating project with an Econergy advisor.
  • 9.30-10.00 Arrive with coffee
  • 10.00-10.20 Econergy introduction to wood heating and the Renewable Heat Incentive
  • 10.20-10.40 From idea to completion – how to develop your wood heating project
  • 10.40-11.00 Questions and Answers
  • 11.00-11.30 Tour of the boiler
  • 11.30-13.00 lunch and finish
Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.  Send an email to confirm if you wish to attend to  

The school is located at Huntsman Lane, Maidstone, ME14 5DT.

More details on Froling boilers and Econergy installations using this product can be found here.

Froling Turbomat


Please be alert for anyone selling any CHAINSAWS or HEDGE CUTTERS in the mid/east Kent area.  These items have been STOLEN.  They were taken from the Dover/Canterbury area.

It is believed the thief may be driving a BLUE/PURPLE VAUXHALL CORSA.  He has been spotted in the ASHFORD area trying to sell the stolen items.  Please remain vigilant and obtain any details possible should you see/come across this individual (Vehicle Registration, visual description, age etc...).

If you have any information or details relating to this theft please contact the police.  I would also be grateful if you could let me know directly.

Please also circulate this information to anyone else who may be able to help catch this thief.

I gratefully appreciate your help on this.
Many thanks,
Kent Downs and Marshes LEADER Project
01622 221389

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS)

The FFIS is part of the Rural Development Programme forEngland (RDPE) and is a scheme of support, developed to help farming, forestry and horticultural businesses in England to become more efficient at using resources.

This scheme aims to help make your business more profitable and resilient whilst reducing the impact of farming on the environment.

There is £20m available under FFIS until December 2013. The grants are for capital items and the grant rate available is up to 40% in non upland areas, and up to 50% in upland areas and the maximum grant allowable per project is £25 000. The minimum grant is £2,500.
What can be funded under FFIS?

To be eligible for funding under FFIS the project must fall within one of the following key areas of activity:
  • Forestry: Projects which improve the economic value of forests through the efficiencies of improved processing and adding value. Eligible items include timber processors, forwarders, forestry trailers, tractor mounted forestry grabs. 
  • Nutrient Management: Improvements in use of farm manures and slurries so as to improve soil quality and reduce reliance on artificial fertiliser.  Eligible items include slurry injectors, mechanical slurry separation systems and Global Positioning Systems.
  • Energy Efficiency: Projects to reduce or recover energy use on farm resulting in a reduction of farm energy bills and carbon dioxide emissions.  Eligible items include heat exchangers, gel coolers and ice builders.
  • Water Resource Management: Rainwater harvesting, recycling and reuse systems to reduce reliance on mains water.  Eligible items include pipework specifically to intercept and divert roof water to a storage facility, rainwater harvesting equipment.
  • Animal Health and Welfare: Projects which bring about significant improvements in farm animal health and welfare.
Who can Apply?
Farmers, foresters, contractors and horticulturalists across England are eligible to apply

How to apply
The application form will go live on the 16th November when the first round opens. In the meantime you are strongly advised to read the guidance in the handbook as there is some preparatory work you will need to do before you can apply.

If you wish to discuss your proposal before completing the forms or if the item you are applying for is not listed in the guidance then please contact your local Defra RDPE Delivery Team. (0300 numbers are charged at a local rate)
Completed application forms will only be accepted if submitted during an open round. The 1st round of the scheme is open from 16 November 2011 until 17 January 2012.

The selection process for FFIS is competitive and applications will be appraised against one another. This means that there is no guarantee of success and not all projects which are eligible will be awarded a grant.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Fuelwood open days

Fuelwood are holding two open days (May 25th and 26th at Claywood, Warwickshire) to demonstrate their full range of machinery, which includes:
  • New Sami – Autochopper
  • New Splitta 400
  • Woodcutta & Splitta Fuelwood Factory logs & kindling
  • Transaw 350 XL – Firewood Processor
  • KindletPro & Kindlet – kindling machine
  • New 2012 Japa Firewood processors models
  • Full range of log splitters
  • Plus accessories - log decks, bagging chutes etc
  • New X-Frame Bagga for 1m3 Log bags
Fuelwood are also distributors of Heizohack chippers.

To register please visit Fuelwood's website.

To read a report from Fuelwood's recent event in Kent at Berscoe Engineering, who are a local distributor of Fuelwood's products, please click here.

Massive jobs and business boost for East Kent

Local businesses will be able to apply for interest-free loans provided they have plans to grow their company and employ more people, after Kent County Council launched a massive £40 million Government-backed scheme to boost the East Kent economy.

Kent County Council will lead the delivery of ‘Expansion East Kent’ – with the aim of creating 5,000 new jobs by offering local firms in Thanet, Dover, Shepway and Canterbury £35 million in loans. The project is supported by the Government's Regional Growth Fund.

The remaining £5 million will be invested in rail line speed enhancements to reduce travel times from London to Ramsgate to around 1 hour, further benefitting business and tourism in the area and placing Manston airport on the map.

An audience of business leaders and entrepreneurs on Friday (27 April) packed the Winter Gardens, in Margate, to learn more about Expansion East Kent.

Leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, said:

“This is a tremendous boost for the East Kent economy. Expansion East Kent is an ambitious programme to create thousands of new jobs by developing the private sector business base, counteracting the effects of recent economic shocks in the area.

“The programme also aims to unlock private sector finance, stimulating more than £300 million in associated investment over the course of the next four years and creating a major driver for the East Kent economy.

“Since Pfizer’s announcement to exit from its site last year, we’ve left no stone unturned trying to support current business, develop new opportunities and lay down a solid foundation for growth.

“Expansion East Kent will provide financial support to firms as interest free loans. This intelligent use of funding means we can recycle the money to provide vital business support on an on-going basis, benefitting local firms and creating local jobs for years to come.

“Expansion East Kent is being delivered by Kent County Council. We will bear the administration costs, which means it will be run at zero cost to business.”

Almost all business sectors in East Kent – and those locating or looking to expand into the area – can potentially benefit from the scheme.

Mr Carter added:

“We want to encourage applications from sectors where new investment is particularly important and can yield significant economic benefits, for example manufacturing, advanced engineering, tourism, life sciences and greentech industries. This significantly builds on our work to help market and promote the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Sandwich and will have an impact across the whole of East Kent.”

South Thanet MP, Laura Sandys, said:

“The Regional Growth Fund offers unrivalled opportunities for East Kent. Unlike previous Government backed schemes, £35 million of the Fund will go directly into supporting businesses to expand, create new local jobs and recruit staff. By providing interest free loans, it is not a quick cash injection but a long term sustainable solution to ensure our local business community and jobs market thrives into the future. Securing the Regional Growth Fund is a huge victory – particularly for the Thanet and Sandwich corridor.”

To find out more about Expansion East Kent and for full details of the application process, please visit:

Moving towards low carbon farming

To book your place or for more information please call the Soil Association 0117 314 5127 or email

The Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder would be happy to assist anyone considering biomass heating as a way of reducing on farm energy use. 

For free advice and support please contact Matthew Morris on 01303 815 171 or