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The New England Woodland Creation Offer

Landmark £15 million woodland creation grant opens for applications

The Forestry Commission has today opened a new multimillion tree planting grant scheme – the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) to provide greater financial incentives for landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees.

With £15.9 million available in its first year, the grant scheme, now open to applications, will provide enhanced payments rates. It will give greater recognition of the public and environmental benefits that woodlands bring, by providing additional incentives to ensure the right tree is planted in the right place, and for the right reason.

The new grant scheme for landowners and farmers will support the creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, including: along rivers to improve the water environment; through natural colonisation where woodlands are created through natural processes by trees which grow from seeds which fall and germinate there; and where their location and design will provide public benefits including greater access.

The grant can cover 100 per cent of eligible standard capital costs of woodland creation, meaning costs are covered for buying and planting the trees, and then maintaining them for 10 years. Additional financial contributions are available for well-designed woodland that provide public and wider environmental benefits.

Additional contributions will be available for:

  • nature and species recovery – between £1,100/ha to £2,800/ha available where woodland creation will help woodland-dependent priority species to recover;
  • tree planting near watercourses and rivers (riparian buffers) – £1,600/ha available where the creation of native broadleaved woodland along water courses will improve river habitats;
  • reduced flood risk – £500/ha available where woodland creation can help reduce the risk of flooding;
  • improved public access – £2,200/ha available where woodland creation will provide long-term permissive access to the public to enjoy
  • close to settlements – £500/ha available where woodland creation will provide social and environmental benefits by being close to people;
  • improved water quality – £400/ha available for woodlands that clean our water by reducing pollutants through land use change by intercepting pollution and sediment before it reaches watercourses.

EWCO will be designed to allow farmers to make the most of green finance opportunities. For example, applicants will be supported to register their planting under the Woodland Carbon Code wherever eligible, to allow the future sale of high quality woodland carbon credits to private buyers. The government aims to maximise private investment in new woodlands and will regularly review its approach to additional contributions to maximise private investment and direct public funding where it is most needed.

Forestry Commission Chair, Sir William Worsley, said:

“This exciting new grant offer is flexible to allow landowners to create a woodland that meets their own objectives. From planting a small one hectare block, a strip of trees along rivers to reduce flood risk, to large mixed woodlands. This improved grant gives everyone the opportunity to see woodland creation as a financially and environmentally rewarding option. This will help with our journey to reach net zero by 2050.”

 

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said:

“Trees are at the heart of Government’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, help bend the curve of biodiversity loss and better connect people with nature as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To respond to the climate emergency, we need farmers and landowners to plant trees, and this new grant will provide the financial and environmental incentives needed to make this happen”

 

Recognising the manifold benefits that trees bring, the new grant scheme 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 grant will continue the current approach of focusing funding predominantly on the creation of native broadleaf woodlands at a large scale, but also supporting well-designed majority conifer and mixed woodlands, providing scope for well-designed productive forestry to grow alongside significant increases in majority broadleaf woodland.

The England Woodland Creation Offer also addresses wider barriers to woodland creation, by improving regulatory processes, consultation arrangements and advice and guidance as part of the application process.

Today’s announcement follows the publication of the England Trees Action Plan. This was announced through the Environment Secretary’s recent speech from Delamere Forest where he outlined plans to treble tree planting rates in England during this Parliament, funded through an expected £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund. Also recently announced, the Tree Health Pilot is taking action against pests and diseases which attack our trees, woods and forests.

Caroline Ayre, England National Manager at Confor, said:

“The forestry sector welcomes the England Woodland Creation Offer. Ambitious targets for tree planting have been set and society’s insatiable demand for wood products, from timber to clothing and paper, means that, more than ever, we need purposeful, well designed and managed productive new woodland. Woodland that will help to sustain and grow resilient rural businesses and diverse landscapes.

 

“We look forward to working with the Forestry Commission to deliver England’s tree planting programme through the England Woodland Creation Offer, to ensure that we allow land managers and farmers to create a legacy not a liability for future generations.”

Julian Ohlsen, Regional Manager & Tilhill Forester says:

“Following the recent England Tree Action Plan announcement, it is great to see the details behind the incentives to increase woodland planting from today’s 2,000 Ha per annum to the target of 10,000 Ha per annum in England.

 

This is an ambitious target and will require the whole industry to work together.  The Forestry Commission will need to fast track the currently overly long planning and permission stages to avoid willing participants loosing focus and drive.

 

Our spades are ready and the tree nursery fully stocked.”

Speak to one of Tilhill's Professional Chartered Forest Managers

Fill in the form below for a member of our Tilhill team to advise you on any new woodland creation scheme and the new England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO)

Notes:

  • Land managers and farmers may be eligible to keep claiming Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) payments on their land when entering into a EWCO agreement. They may also be eligible to register with the Woodland Carbon Code and apply to the Woodland Carbon Guarantee for further funding. They should also consider applying for funding towards the cost of planning their new woodland (if it will be 5 hectares or more in size) through the Woodland Creation Planning Grant.
  • This England Woodland Creation Offer is one of a suite of new Forestry Commission initiatives to support woodland creation and tree planting across England. See this Create Woodland: Overview page for details of other current funding opportunities.
  • The Offer is an inclusive and flexible offer of a grant that replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund, which closed for applications in March 2021.
  • Helping to meet the government’s tree planting commitments, the grant is highly competitive and pioneers a new approach to supporting woodland creation with a new higher intervention rate of 100% capital costs covered and additional contributions that recognise many of the ecosystem services that woodland creation will generate, hoping to pave the way for future developments in the fields of green finance for natural capital and ecosystem services.
  • The grant will cover standard capital costs for tree planting (up to a per hectare cap of £8,500) and annual maintenance payments of £200 per hectare for 10 years, as well as rewarding farmers and landowners with additional contributions for providing public and/or wider environmental benefits.
  • All England Woodland Creation Offer applications must be compliant with the UK Forestry Standard.