Grants & Licences

€670 million budget has been awarded for the period 2015-2020 by the Irish Government for the private forestry sector in Ireland. This budget supports grant and premium schemes including Afforestation Grant, Native Woodland Establishment, Native Woodland Conservation, Forest Roading and NeighbourWood schemes.

Afforestation Grant

Afforestation is the process of planting trees to establish a forest in an area previously not occupied by trees. The afforestation grant scheme includes a 100% establishment and maintenance grant which covers the cost of planting your land (site preparation, planting, fencing, etc.), maintaining your forest (e.g. vegetation management, the replacement of failures, etc.) and an annual income tax free premium payment for 15 years. Grant levels are dependent on tree species and soil type.

Afforestation Grant Rates

The afforestation grant rates vary and depend on the species of tree planted and soil type. The maximum grant rates are detailed below. The afforestation grant is a fixed grant to cover the costs incurred in the establishment of a forest and the maintenance of the forest during the first 5 years. It is paid in two instalments (1st = establishment and 2nd = maintenance) as outlined below and is paid exclusive of VAT. An additional allowance for fencing (to the maximum rates detailed below) is payable with the First Grant instalment.

View Afforestation Grant Rates

Afforestation Annual Forestry Premium Rates

Alongside the afforestation grant annual forestry premiums are payable to landowners to compensate for the loss of earning potential from the afforestation of their land. New applicants are eligible for the annual forestry premiums depending on the species of trees planted, soil type and area planted. The premiums are payable for a period of 15 years in respect of Grant and Premium Categories 1-8. See the link below for a guide of the premiums.

View Afforestation Annual Forestry Premium Rates

Who is entitled to the Afforestation Grant?

The Afforestation grant and premiums are available to private landowners (farmers, non-farmers and companies) over 18 years of age. For further information please contact the FOCS team.


Native Woodland Establishment Scheme

The Native Woodland Establishment Scheme (NWS Est.) provides assistance in establishing a new native woodland on a site previously not planted (“green field” site). The purpose of the scheme is to focus on native species, minimal site disturbance and long-term ‘close-to-nature’ management. The aim of the scheme is to protect and expand Ireland’s native woodland resource and associated biodiversity. Natural woodlands are a key biodiversity measure within Ireland’s national forest policy.

Native Woodland Establishment Grant Rates

The grant is split into two grant instalments, establishment and maintenance. The First Grant is the establishment grant which covers the cost of planting a new native woodland. The First Grant is payable following planting. The second instalment is the Second Grant (Maintenance Grant) which is payable four years after planting once a successful native woodland has been established. The grant payment varies depending on the native woodland established (see the link below for more details).

View Native Woodland Establishment Grant Rates

Native Woodland Establishment Annual Forestry Premium Rates

Annual forest premiums are available to landowners related to the scenario chosen. This premium is payable for a period of 15 years in respect of Grant and Premium Categories 9 and 10.

View Native Woodland Establishment Premium Rates

 Native Woodland Establishment Scenarios

A FOCS professional team will assist you in your application process and will determine the relevant scenario suited to your desired area. The FOCS professional team will assess the site in terms of its location, soil as well as main habitats and vegetation. They then match it to one of five scenarios listed below.

  • Scenario 1: Podzols (Oak-Birch-Holly Woodland)
  • Scenario 2: Brown Podzolics (Oak-Birch-Holly with Hazel Woodland)
  • Scenario 3: Brown Earths (Oak-Ash-Hazel Woodland)
  • Scenario 4: Gleys (Alder-Oak-Ash Woodland)
  • Scenario 5: Highly Modified Peat & Peaty Podzols (Pioneer Birch Woodland)


Native Woodland Conservation Scheme

This Scheme focus on sites of high ecological importance (e.g. ancient woodlands and designated areas such as Special Areas of Conservation) as well as sites where native woodland restoration will benefit by protecting watercourses and aquatic habitats.

Native Woodland Conservation Scheme Aims

  • Restoration of existing native woodland (e.g. the removal of invasive species that may harm or destroy native woodland ecosystems)
  • The Transformation of existing conifer forests to native woodland especially sites close to sensitive watercourses
  • Protection and management of existing ‘scrub’ to capitalise on the ecological value as emerging native woodland.

Native Woodland Conservation Grant Rates

The table in the link below outlines the maximum Native Woodland Conservation Grant Rates. For further information contact the FOCS team.

View Native Woodland Conservation Grant Rates

Native Woodland Conservation Annual Premium Rates

The table in the link below outlines the maximum Native Woodland Conservation Annual Premium Rates. For further information contact the FOCS team.

View Native Woodland Conservation Premium Rates


The FOCS team will aid with the development of new and established “NeighbourWoods” for public, educational and recreational uses in or near local villages, towns and cities throughout our area. The NeighbourWood scheme is primarily intended for local authorities and private landholders, working in conjunction with the local communities. Each project will be assessed on a case-by-case basis therefore this scheme may be available to other landowners. For further information contact the FOCS team to discuss the best options for you and your community.

NeighbourWood Funding Elements

The NeighbourWood Scheme provides support under three elements.

  1. The establishment of new NeighbourWood on open ‘greenfield’ sites.
  2. The enhancement of silvicultural in current woodland already being used as NeighbourWood or proposed for development as NeighbourWood
  3. The installation and upgrading of appropriate recreational facilities in an area that is submitted in accordance with the NeighbourWood Establishment or NeighbourWood Enhancement, or within an existing woodland suitable for recreation but not submitted under NeighbourWood Enhancement. This element could be used in conjunction with the Native Woodland Conservation works.

Who is entitled to the NeighbourWood Grant?

  • The scheme is available to both public and private landowners, working in partnership with local communities.
  • Applications from other landowners may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

NeighbourWood Grant Rates

The NeighbourWood Scheme offers funding of up to 85% of eligible costs (exclusive of VAT) under three separate elements: NeighbourWood Establishment, NeighbourWood Enhancement and NeighbourWood Facilities. The maximum available grant within each element is to be paid as a single payment and are outlined in the table linked below. For further information contact our FOCS team.

View NeighbourWood Grant Rates


Forestry Road Scheme

A forest road is extremely important for the accessibility to your forest especially for harvesting. This scheme provides funding for the construction of forest roads and associated infrastructure to provide access for management and harvesting.

As a member of the Forest Owner’s Co-Operative Society limited (FOCS) you will have expert advice and a professional forestry team to guide you through the forest road scheme process.

Forest Road Scheme Brief Overview

  • Grants up to 100% of construction costs to a maximum rate of €40 per linear metre to a maximum of 25 metres per hectare.
  • Special construction works may be funded on environmentally sensitive sites up to a maximum of €5000 per application or 50% of costs whichever is lower.
  • Additional funding is available where significant additional stone is required to build a bell mouth where it is at least 2 metres below the surface of the existing public road.
  • The first instalment amounts to 90% of the total grant while 20% of the forest must be thinned within three years of receiving the first instalment.
  • Forest roads connecting to an existing forest road network in a public, state or private forest may be supported including the portion of the road outside the property where there is an agreement between the owners.

Forest Road Scheme Grant Rates (€/ha)

See link below for more details.

View Forest Road Scheme Grant Rates

Forest Road Scheme operations eligibility

  • Tree clearance
  • Inceptor drains and Formation work
  • Base course and surfacing
  • Bell mouths and turntables
  • Internal Turning junctions
  • Culverts and Bridges

Criteria to meet before applying for the Forest Road Scheme

  • 50% or greater of the forest area must be due to be harvested within the next three years. Joint applications may be extended up to 5 years.
  • Ownership of the land on which the forest road is to be built.
  • A felling licence will be required prior to starting construction on your forest road.

Best time to construct a forest road

  • Harvest roads should ideally be built well in advance of the first thinning operation. This will allow the road to dry and to cope better with the extensive wear and tear of harvesting and timber haulage.
  • For further information please contact a member of the Forest Owner’s Co-Operative Society limited (FOCS) team to discuss the best forest road construction option(s) for you.

 The Application Process with the Forest Owner’s Co-Operative Society limited (FOCS)

  • As a member of the FOCS you will be assigned a professional forestry team to assist and guide you throughout the whole process.
  • The FOCS will assign a Registered Forester and a professional forestry team to prepare applications where the total road lengths specified in the application is less than 500 metres.
  • The FOCS will obtain a qualified Civil Engineer or Engineering Surveyor to assist in the road applications where required.
  • For applications with an area five hectares or greater the FOCS professional forestry team will assist with the preparation of a standard management which is required when applying.


Other Schemes

There are a large number of other grants and schemes including.

  • Agroforestry Grant
  • Forestry for Fibre Grant
  • Seed Stand and Seed Orchard Scheme
  • Reconstitution Scheme for Windblow
  • Deer Tree Shelters and Deer/Hare Fencing Scheme
  • RUS – Reconstitution and Underplanting Scheme (ash dieback)

For more information on the grants and schemes available or any of the above grants and schemes please contact our FOCS team.


Felling Licence

A felling licence is provided by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and offers authority in accordance with the Forestry Act 2014 for the felling or removal of tree(s) as well as thinning a forest for management reasons. It is an offence to fell trees without a felling licence if an exemption does not apply. A felling licence must be issued before felling is undertaken. However, there are certain circumstances that are exempt from having a felling licence.

Felling Licence Type and Validity

Felling licences may be valid for up to a period of ten years. The licence can be extended for one or several periods, to a maximum of 5 years.

There are two types of felling licences

  • General felling licence (GFL) shall be valid for a period of five years. Thinning and clearfells are completed using this licence.
  • Limited felling licence (LFL) shall be valid for two years. This licence is used primarily for small fellings.

Felling Licence Application Process with FOCS

  • Your professional forestry team can advise and assist with your felling application to ensure that the correct licence is being applied for and that you have the required information to complete the application.
  • Some additional documents may be needed depending on your felling operation including a forest management plan, harvest plan and replanting plan. Your FOCS professional forestry team can assist in the preparation of these documents.

For further information on how your FOCS team can assist you please contact us.




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