The Forestry Commission has opened a new multimillion tree planting grant scheme – the England Woodland Creation Offer – to provide greater financial incentives for landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees, this also offers great opportunities for estate diversification.
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.
“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,” – CLA President Mark Bridgeman said.
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. This could provide the ideal opportunity for estate diversification. It also provides options for further estate diversification by creating a space for agri-tourism opportunities.
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:
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.
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Article taken from the CLA website