Update - 29th September 2020
We have now received our Woodland Creation Grant phase 1 & 2, which is one step closer to us being able to commit to a Forestry Contractor. As stated in my earlier update, BMAT is not allowed to commit to starting anything on our woodland creation until we have in place and approved both the Woodland Creation and the Carbon Capture Grants. If we start before we have these in place we could jeopardize our grant approval, and without this unfortunately BMAT do not have the funds to proceed.
In parallel with waiting for our grant approval, you may have noticed we have harvested the old barley crop (which in the very dry weather was becoming a fire risk) and this has gone to feed our local parish dairy herd. We are progressing at speed with obtaining quotes for construction of a hard mobility/buggy track, woodland furniture, gates and stiles and of course the main forestry contractor who will be supplying a variety of 20,000 native tree saplings, tree protection, support stakes and the planting itself. I am pleased to say we now have seven contractors on our bid list, several of these have visited the site, all have prepared a very comprehensive quote which we are reviewing at the moment. This will enable us to award the contract as soon as we have confirmation of our grant approval. We are up against the wire time wise though, in placing the main contract, as the woodland planting season starts at the end of October. But prior to this, the Forestry Contractor will need to place orders with the tree sapling suppliers.
We are still on schedule but we are in the hands of the authorities with regard to a start date. I continue to be optimistic, and rest assured, as soon as we get the approval we will commit to starting.
Cllr Andy Humphryes
Our Salts Wood BMAT land off Hubbards Lane will be transformed from arable farm land to our very own wood for all to use and is currently progressing through the various stages of approval.
We are progressing well and continue to aim for a 2020/2021 planting season. This will very much be dictated by tree sapling availability, planting contractor availability and how quickly we get our grant applications approved. Both the Carbon Capture Grant application and the Woodland Creation Planning Grant are completed and submitted, awaiting approval. I must add we are not allowed to perform any work, even pre-work on the site prior to receiving our grant approval.
We have submitted ‘invitations to tender’ to another six forestry planting companies. The response has been very positive and we are in the process of answering any clarification questions.
As you may have noticed, we have now cut, baled and removed the old barley crop and this will be used for cattle feed within the parish and, if required, will be cut again prior to planting our saplings.
As soon as we have our grants approved, the next stage will be to place a contract with the preferred planting contractor, mark out the tracks, paths and open spaces. The contractor will mark out the position of the rows to ensure the trees are the approved distance apart. We are hoping to get approval from KCC to install a 2 metre wide hard surface footpath from Hubbards Lane to Salts Avenue, suitable for wheelchairs, invalid carriages and baby buggies. We are also planning some rural benches in our open spaces.
I am extremely pleased with the progress that has been made over the last 3 months considering the Covid-19 situation we are in, which I am sure you can appreciate is slowing approval of everything at the moment.
After all this lovely weather we have seen over the last 3 months I am sorry to say I am hoping for a much wetter Autumn to ensure all our new trees get a good start in life.
I hope you are all as excited as we are in BMAT at the prospect of our very own Salts Wood.
Cllr Andy Humphryes
The following flyer was sent to neighbouring residents, July 2020 :
Green area is woodland which will be a variety of all native English deciduous trees.
Yellow area is open ground / grassland to ensure that when the trees grow there will still be ample light.
Black lines are proposed footways / cycleways. The path from Hubbards Lane to Salts Avenue will be the only mobility route with the exception of the branch off to one of the picnic areas that will have seating. We would like to be able to make all paths wheelchair/buggy friendly but the cost prohibits this.
The straight white strip is existing woodland. This will be retained and will merge with the new over time.
Existing hedges and trees at the edges of the field will remain.
Numbers denote sizes of each of the pieces of land in hectares.
Further detail will be provided as the project moves forward.