Trees are at the forefront of the government’s plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, to help to bend the curve of biodiversity loss and to create thousands of green jobs while better connecting people with nature as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO), which is due to open to applications in late spring, will be administered by the Forestry Commission to support landowners and land managers to create new woodland. It will be funded through the Nature for Climate Fund and support the creation of over 10,000 hectares of new woodland over its lifetime. The grant will continue our current approach of focusing funding predominantly on the establishment of native broadleaf woodlands at a large scale, but also supporting well-designed majority conifer and mixed woodlands.
EWCO is an inclusive and flexible offer of grant that replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund, which closed for applications in March 2021.
It will support diverse woodland types at different scales (from a minimum size woodland of just 1 hectare per application and 0.1 hectare per block). The new grant offer is flexible to allow landowners to create a woodland that meets their own objectives and those of government. It provides extra incentive for the creation of new broadleaves woodlands, especially those which extend existing priority woodlands, benefit water habitats, or provide access to the public.
This grant is one of a suite of new FC initiatives to support woodland creation and tree planting across England. See our Create Woodland: Overview page for details of our other current funding opportunities.
EWCO will cover capital costs
This will be at a 100% intervention rate (up to a per hectare cap). It will also provide:
- annual maintenance payments for 10 years
- payments towards recreational infrastructure such as paths and picnic benches
- payments towards forest roads and tracks
- stackable additional contributions that recognise the public benefits that well-designed woodland created in the right locations will generate
Additional Contributions will be available
These will be for:
Available where woodland creation will expand areas of existing native woodland, create areas of new native woodland or extend habitat for red squirrels. Support for these activities will help woodland-dependent priority species to recover.
Available where woodland creation with native broadleaved species along water courses will provide the dappled shade that will cool water courses to improve river habitats.
Available where woodland creation will provide new long-term permissive access for recreation.
Close to settlements
Available where woodland creation will provide social and environmental benefits by being close to people.
Available where woodland creation will help reduce pollutants through land use change that reduces fertilizer application and/or creating woodland that intercepts pollution and sediment before it reaches water courses.
Reduced Flood Risk
Available where woodland creation can help reduce the risk of flooding.
Woodland Creation Planning Grant
The Woodland Creation Planning Grant, relaunched in November 2020, will integrate with the new grant for greater ease of application, and the EWCO application form will make it easier for customers to register with the Woodland Carbon Code.
After 2024, EWCO will lead into our new future environmental schemes. As set out in the government’s Agricultural Transition Plan, the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery Schemes will provide support for publicly funded woodland creation. EWCO agreement holders will be able to break their EWCO agreement at agreed points without penalty once they have secured a place in these schemes.
Some customers of existing woodland creation schemes may be able to move to EWCO. We will provide further information on who will be eligible to apply when the grant opens.
EWCO agreement holders can continue to claim Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) payments on land in a EWCO agreement, provided the land meets certain eligibility requirements. You will need to follow the Guidance on woodland grant schemes and BPS: operations note 42, which will be updated to reflect this when the grant opens for applications.