Memorandum submitted by Mr R C Williams-Ellis
OBE (K 9)
It was only perchance I was shown a copy of
this press notice by "Celtic Dimensions" with no Forestry
Connection. On contact with H Q Timber Growers, Edinburgh and
University Forestry School, Bangor, neither were aware of this
I attach a paper of more general comment, but
I think my own personal experience over 52 years developing the
only Post-War vertically integrated forest holding in Wales.
1. Returning from Far East War Service I
made my commitment to Forestry, inspired by the All Party supported
1948 Policy:The Strategic Reserve; Forestry Commission
expansion; Private Woodlands Dedication Schemes, plus Grants plus
special Capital and Income Tax (Sch.D) reliefs attracting outside/City
2. From 2 ha (P.1926) outstanding Sitka
Spruce, 195 ha. were planted by 1973 including purchase of over
150 ha adjoining land financed from the net profits of a successful
Forestry Nursery (1948-73) under Schedule B as my Retirement Pension
Fund of Tax free Capital Reserve.
3. Opening of Fencing Sawmills in 1988 was
forced by Shotton UPM backed by Deeside Development Grants failing
to offer an opening 1984 a price to cover felling and haulage
costs. (Prior closure 1979 Bowaters Pulp price giving c £1
per ton margin allowed vital thinning P50/60 Woodland).
4. Glasfryn Woods lie entirely on Grade
5 bogland peats overlying impervious boulder clay spring-bearing
sub-soils, making Sitka Spruce dominant choice. Sited on the Llyn
Peninsula (five miles across) 4-600 feet O.D. with a top Wind
Class 5-6 inevitably with delayed thinning every one of the 65
ex-Dedication sub-Compartments was holed by windthrow and stem
snap by the Christmas Eve hurricane 1996. Windthrow is now constant.
5. Glasfryn Woodland Grants on 195 ha since
1948 total under £25,000 for all Planing and re-stocking,
plus Dedication Grants till 1995, plus in 1996 Forest Track Challenge
Funding of £10,000. This extended Forest roading of nearly
five miles since 1958 by some 400 metres.
6. Glasfryn Woodland of 195 ha are sited
on land too poor to support an Environmentally Sensitive Area
(Llyn Peninsula) within the Severely Disadvantaged Less Favoured
Area Hill Livestock Holding backed by CAP, HLCA Agricultural Grants.
7. By comparison a Hill Livestock Holding
of 200 ha with optimum stocking with right mix of better land
as calculated by ADAS, (1996) employing Farmer and One worker
could qualify for upto £60,000 annually, plus additional
grants for renovation of traditional buildings and field boundaries.
8. Glasfryn Forest Holding by comparison
employs 15 full time staff. Being unable to finance any re-stocking
of windthrown areas, no woodland grants since 1996. (Highest employment
on any Holding 200 ha in Wales.)
9. Rural Wales Objective 5b 1994-99 EU Grant
was secured which helped development of the Sawmill. As neither
the Forestry Commission nor the Welsh Office Agricultural Department
(unlike MAFF in England) were unable to Match Fund, and WDA refused
Grant as a Forestry project many parts of the Scheme were cut.
We only secured the County Council Drive Grant for increasing
employment plus help for the Welsh Office Grant of Last Resort.
10. As a forest holding I cannot qualify
for the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme available to farmer taking
land out surplus food production with Grants and Compensation
running for broadleaves upto over £5,000 per ha.
11. Should I wish to expand I would have
to buy adjoining Grade 5 land with its SDLFA/ESA/CAP Grants added
12. Glasfryn Planting/Restocking Costs.
On Grade 5 bogland current costs:
|Year 1-5||Preparation (clearance, fencing); Drainage, Dolloping; Plants, Planting; Beating up, weeding and aftercare
||£2,000 / ha|
|Year 5-25||Maintenance and Management 2 man day per year £100.
|Outlay to earliest break even from thinnings
||£4,000 / ha|
|Less Present conifer PlantingGrant £700 / ha
|or Re-stocking Grant £325 / ha
13. 1958 Following partial windthrow I sold part
of the P.1926 Sitka Spruce stand, which included some standing
sawlog. Price movements as follows.
|Saw logs price increase from 1958 (standing) £7 to £16
||over 2 times|
|Agricultural Wage Minimums since 1958 have risen
||over 30 times|
|Daily Newspapers, now with part re-cycled paper pulp
||over 50 times|
14. I was the only local buyer of the 800 ha Llyn Forest
put up for sale by the Forest Enterprise, at one time employing
over 100, as uneconomic and too isolated from timber mills 80-120
miles on the Welsh Border. Woods were bought by Timber Merchants
and Tilhill Economic Forestry (Shotton) for "rollover Relief"
15. My application for the Long Terms Plan Grant has
been turned down for "Lack of public access and no monument
of interest to visit!"
11 November 2000