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Worcestershire landowners urged to bid for orchards grants
6:20am Sunday 6th October 2013 in Local
LANDOWNERS across Worcestershire are being urged to apply for a grant to help protect or restore traditional orchard habitats.
Worcestershire County Council is offering them a grant to assist with the restoration of traditional orchard habitat in the county but time is running out to get applications in.
Grants of up to £500 per orchard are currently available to voluntary organisations, schools, community groups and private landowners.
The grant is intended to help restore orchards that have become old, derelict or neglected and at risk of being lost from the landscape. The cash must be used by March, 2014 and can be used to pay for work such as tree pruning, new planting, clearing scrub or carrying out repairs to fencing to enable the orchard to be grazed.
It can also be used to source training from local experts on best practice orchard restoration and management.
Traditional orchards are those managed without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides and often contain locally distinctive varieties of fruit tree that are allowed to grow, mature and begin to decay for many years before being replaced.
Rebecca Lashley, the county council's environmental projects officer, said: "Traditional orchards are such a well-loved and recognisable part of Worcestershire's landscape and cultural heritage and they support a wealth of important biodiversity.
“We had a fantastic number of applications to our first round of funding and hope more owners will come forward over the next few months."
She added: "Worcestershire contains 12 per cent of all the traditional orchards remaining in England and our fruit-growing heritage is recognised as nationally significant."
Community group Worcester Orchard Workers has already benefitted from funding. From left to right: Heather Bainbridge (Worcester City Council), Arthur Rowe and Tony Kennell (Worcester Orchard), and Phil Playford and Elaine Wilson (community orchard workers) taking part in a fruit tree grafting course.
For more information or an application form contact Rebecca Lashley on 01905 766852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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