This blog is aimed at the Clinton Devon Estate team to let everyone know what the Estate Director is up to... By popular demand! Let me have your feedback...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Westphalia forestry visit

Absolutely fascinating visit to Westphalia. Such generous hosts. Looked at 500kw bio gas plant, willow bio mass, wind turbines (everywhere and fitting so well into the countryside). Saw solar PV on farm buildings which again worked well in landscape but I know UK planners would froth at mouth...!

Forestry discussion extremely interesting. German foresters are viewed as professionals and generally well respected by the public. Many have Phd's. It is a sought after profession. Public Forest Estate is at State (region) level - ie c15 independent public companies. Civil servants with a local very focussed twist. in Westphalia c 60% of forests are owned by the State. Targeted not to loose money - so commercially focussed - yet aim to deliver public benefits where appropriate. Ie where forest forms part of a national park. Will find out more on Wednesday but seems to me that FC has much broader (and maybe conflicting, in terms of resource) objectives? Because of scale of countryside and forestry much less pressure for access it appears which takes pressure off balancing agendas. Wild boar and deer big issue - the latter esp for establishment of plantations. Much higher % of beech/broadleaves than UK but there again Beech does not grow well in UK and in Germany it is seen very much as a commercial crop. Not so in UK! Again broadleaf strategy underpinned by sound economics - in UK economics very unsound. Grey squirrel effect not known of in Germany. They are very lucky!

Real passion for renewables, esp wood fuel...

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