Kirby & Haslam Forrest Innovation

Forest Innovation: R&D

With the total area of woodland within the UK covering 3.17 million hectares, which accounts for about 13% of the total land area, forest innovation is a critical sector for sustainable development and providing a wealth of goods and services that are essential for a greener economy. The industry involves numerous practices that ensure that the woodlands within the UK are well managed, whether they are being harvested or expanded.

What is Forest Innovation?

The forestry sector is typically defined as the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forests act as both a natural habitat for plants and animals, and a great source of material for industries such as woodworking who produce good pivotal to everyday life. As a result, increasing numbers of regulation are enforced on woodlands within the UK to allow the sector to continue to be sustainable and profitable in an increasing demanding world.

What is R&D within Forestry?

As noted, maintaining the woodlands in the UK to a high standard is vital in helping the sector survive in the future. Maintenance of the sector includes the solving of certain issues that arise when dealing with a vital part of the environment. Such issues centre around the harvesting of timber, combatting wildfires, sustaining health of specific habitats, and supporting the renewable nature of the industry.  Research and development within forestry often arises in response to such issues, with companies within the sector looking for innovative practices that achieve greater efficiency without destroying or damaging the health of woodlands.

Some examples of significant forest innovations projects include:

  • Use of audio recording data, combined with AI to detect illegal felling and vandalism in woods
  • Adaption of drone technology in order to combat wildfires
  • Implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) to accurately survey forestry
  • Automated management of nurseries that allow for optimum conditions to be implemented, increasing potential for reduction in water
  • Cut-to-length logging (CTL) systems have successfully increased productivity of forestry operations as it has less labour requirements and greater safety due to enclosed machine cabs

How R&D tax credits can help companies within the forestry sector

There are many benefits to be gained from the R&D tax credit scheme, however you may be curious about how your own company can be eligible. 

There are many stages throughout an Forest Innovation R&D project, which each involve varied activities that may or may not be eligible towards your claim. Some expenditure within forestry projects that are eligible for tax relief include:

  • Building and testing of prototype models that contribute to the final product, such as automated technology built for nurseries
  • Salaries of staff who directly worked on the project, such as technical design staff
  • Activities essential to the undertaking of R&D. For example, the leasing of equipment and greenspace used to deploy and test prototypes
  • Research (including related data collection) to devise new scientific or technological testing, such as information collected in forestry surveying in order to assess prototypes technological accuracy

Whether your company is big or small, the benefits can be significant. The tax credits can help make future R&D projects become more affordable, whilst providing a budget boost to be used in other areas, such as the hiring of staff that can help grow your future. 

The next step

Our team at Kirby and Haslam are specialists when it comes to R&D tax relief. If you feel like your company could be eligible for R&D tax credits, then do not hesitate to enquire – our team of experts will help you along every stage in the process. 

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