From today, it will be easier for landowners to access generous grants for creating new woodland, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced.
Applications are now being accepted for the latest round of the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant – a scheme which provides up to £6,800 per hectare to help farmers, foresters and landowners tap into the environmental and financial benefits of tree planting.
In a drive to encourage more projects to come forward and give applicants longer to prepare, the funding will now be available twelve months a year – replacing a previously time-limited application window.
The extension supports the government’s commitment to plant 11 million trees, which will provide habitats for wildlife, help to prevent flood risk and reduce carbon in our atmosphere.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:
"By planting more trees and creating new woodlands, landowners in England can help to protect and enhance the environment now and for future generations.
I look forward to seeing as many applications as possible come forward in support of our continued drive to grow woodland cover."
Richard Greenhous, Forestry Commission director of forest services, said:
"By making it easier to apply for generous grant support we are ensuring that we deliver on the Government’s and the forestry sector’s ambitions to plant millions more trees across the country.
We look forward to hearing from applicants who want to reap the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable woodland creation."
The Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant is a Defra scheme delivered by the Forestry Commission and is a capital grant, where applicants can apply for one-off payments for the trees which will be planted and associated infrastructure.
Simon Marrington, Tilhill Forestry's New Business & Senior Forest Manager comments on the recent news:
"Year round opening for woodland creation grant applications is welcome news for landowners and land managers. Recent years have seen considerable uncertainty as to whether there would be annual grant availability or application windows, which has led to reduced interest amongst landowners and prevented forward planning. Ongoing grant availability provides expert advisors like Tilhill Forestry with the opportunity to promote the funding to new and existing clients with greater confidence and to plan, progress and resource well considered, high quality tree planting schemes throughout the year."
The government has made a number of improvements to the scheme, including streamlining the application process and improving guidance for landowners looking to capitalise on the environmental and economic benefits offered.
This scheme forms part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to grow woodland cover, alongside the publication of our ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan, funding towards the creation of a vast Northern Forest from Liverpool to Hull, and the appointment of a Tree Champion to drive forward commitments around tree planting and conservation.
For more information and advice on Woodland Creation visit our page here.