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Pilot forestry investment zone launched in Cumbria

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The government has announced a pilot forestry investment zone (FIZ) in Cumbria, which will seek to encourage investment in tree planting across the region.

The pilot will run for two years and will be used as a test case for rolling out the initiative more widely around the country.

The aim is to accelerate the planting of larger-scale woodland and forestry to help meet a government target of planting an additional 11m trees in England.

See also: Ultimate guide: how to plant trees on your farm

Financial support will be offered through the existing Countryside Stewardship and Woodland Carbon Fund grant schemes.

However, a FIZ officer will also offer tailored support to businesses, which should make the process of getting permission to plant trees easier.

The forestry sector has been pushing for the introduction of FIZs for some time, arguing that landowners are looking for confidence that their applications to plant trees will be approved without incurring long, expensive delays.

Forestry minister David Rutley said the project would bring economic and environmental benefits to the region.

“The project will focus on productive forestry, landscape enhancement, farming and local employment.”