The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) has been developed in response to HM Treasury releasing £10 million in the 2018 Autumn Budget announcement for planting at least 20,000 large trees and 110,000 small trees in urban areas in England.
The UTCF will support a number of objectives in Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan and also contribute towards meeting Government’s manifesto commitment to plant one million urban trees by 2022.
The fund is available for 2 years (2019/20 and 2020/2021) and applications must be submitted during an application window. In year one, the fund is open for block bids only.
Block bids allows an application for funding for multiple projects under one application, which can be geographically dispersed across England or focused in a local area. Individual applications are aimed at smaller organisations or community groups who are looking to deliver much smaller scale projects.
The UTCF is open to anyone who wants to plant trees in urban or peri-urban areas as long, as you have full management control or consent to use the land for the duration of your agreement and your planting location is within an urban area.
The fund provides up to 50% of published standard costs for planting large and small trees and their establishment costs. The remaining funding must be met through match funding, either in the form of money or labour.
The UTCF is a competitive fund and your application will be scored and ranked to identify projects that will provide the greatest environmental and social benefits to an area. Value for money may also be taken into account, with additional points being awarded where applications demonstrate this (for example, contributing more than 50% of standard costs).
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund provides up to 50% funding of standard costs (see Table 4 – Standard cost for items available for planting and establishing trees) for planting large and small trees and their establishment costs for 3 years following planting. The funding supports the cost of buying a tree, planting in a grass verge, the cost of basic protection and the labour required to plant it.
Establishment payments support the cost of weeding, watering and checking trees during multiple visits over a three year period.
Trees are referred to as ‘Standard’, ‘Feather’ and ‘Whip’ as defined in Table 4 – Standard cost for items available for planting and establishing trees. For a further detailed breakdown of what these costs cover, please see the Urban Tree Challenge Fund application form.
The grant rate available per tree is a maximum of 50% of standard costs and will not be funded for anything above this value.
Table 4 – Standard cost for items available for planting and establishing trees
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund is currently open for block bids and closes at midnight on 28 July 2019.