The HS2 Woodland Fund has reopened to new applications, with £3.25m available to support woodland creation and the restoration of plantations of ancient woodland sites (PAWS).
First launched in November 2017 and managed by the Forestry Commission on behalf of HS2 Ltd, the fund is available for landowners located up to 25 miles from phase one of the route from London to the West Midlands.
The Woodland Creation aspect of the fund will now be available under the Forestry Commission’s England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO). Funding for the restoration of PAWS will remain as a standalone offer and will be open to applications over the next two years.
Applications will be assessed four times per year, with the first deadline on 30 June 2023.
Sir William Worsley, Forestry Commission Chair, said:
“We must ensure that woodlands and habitats impacted by HS2 are effectively restored and protected.
“By facilitating the creation of new woodland, and bringing new life to ancient woodlands, the HS2 Woodland Fund will continue to be instrumental in ensuring that any loss from the project is sufficiently compensated for.”
HS2’s Biodiversity Lead David Prys-Jones said:
“The HS2 Woodland Fund, a component of our extensive Green Corridor environmental programme, is designed to help landowners near to the HS2 route create new native, broadleaved woodlands and restore existing ancient woodland sites.
“This forms part of HS2’s wider strategy to create a network of bigger, better-connected, climate resilient habitats and new green spaces for people and wildlife to enjoy.”
Eligible landowners are encouraged to consider their plans and discuss potential applications with the Forestry Commission.
Application forms are available from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hs2-woodland-fund. A new case study is also available to read about a landowner’s experience of applying to the HS2 Woodland Fund and restoring an ancient woodland site.
To plant trees in the 2023/24 planting season applications will need to be received by 30 June 2023.
Applications submitted by 30 June 2023 will be assessed by a panel in July 2023 before being assigned to a Woodland Officer, decisions will be communicated by end of October 2023, giving proposals the best chance to be implemented during winter 23/24.