£15 million woodland creation grant opens for applications

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Farmers and Landowners in the UK can now apply for the woodland creation grant funding to support the creation of woodland, through the  England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO). This £15.9 million initiative from the Forestry Commission is in place to help with the plating and managing of trees, that will aid in carbon offsetting.

Landowners and farmers in the UK will get the opportunity to apply for a  £15.9 million grant  scheme from the Forestry Commission. The England Woodland Creation Offer,  also known as EWCO falls under the Forestry Commission and is aimed at creating woodlands and planting trees across England that will also aid in carbon offsetting. 

In the statement, 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.”

In addition to the scheme, it will allow applicants to register their planting under the Woodland Carbon Code wherever eligible. The registration will enhance the quality of the carbon credits to be sold to private buyers in the future. It is believed the scheme will be a great catalyst in building public awareness regarding the environmental benefits that woodlands bring.

 The scheme will also ensure the right tree is planted in the right place while providing support to  create a range of woodland by types, sizes, and location such as along river-banks to improve the water environment.  To achieve this, the woodlands will be created through a natural process where trees grow from seeds that fall and germinate there. They will also be designed to be accessible to the public giving greater benefit. 

The grant will provide up to 100% cover for capital costs which includes costs of buying, planting, and maintenance of trees for 10 years. Well-designed woodlands with additional public and environmental benefits will receive further financial contributions. 

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said:

“Our ambition is not just to treble tree planting rates by the end of Parliament but to create diverse treescapes across the country which benefit wildlife, the environment and people.

While CLA President Mark Bridgemen commented:

“We welcome this new scheme which offers much-needed impetus to tree planting in England. Payments for woodland creation under the EWCO are significantly better than previous schemes and the minimum application area has been reduced to 1 ha, which should increase interest in tree planting. Higher standard payments, with optional supplements for biodiversity, flood mitigation or access provision, makes woodland creation under the EWCO a more attractive option than before. It is well worth landowners looking into whether this new scheme can work for them.”

Additional funding will be made available for the following: :

  • Between £1,100/ha to £2,800/ha will be made available for nature and species recovery for woodland-dependent species.
  • About £1,600/ha will go towards tree planting near watercourses and rivers (riparian buffers). 
  • Over £500/ha will be dedicated to reducing flood risk where woodland would be used to mitigate the flooding risk.
  • Around £2,200/ha will be used to improve public access – available where woodland creation will provide long-term permissive access to the public to enjoy
  • Woodlands creation closer to settlements will receive £500/ha.
  • Woodlands that will improve water quality will receive £400/ha.

More information on the initiative, including details of how to apply, can be found on the government’s website.

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