New drive to promote woodland creation grants for farmers
A new drive to encourage farmers across England to plant and manage more trees has been launched by the government. The Forestry Commission and Defra are drawing attention to woodland creation grants and free specialist advice available through a new campaign. Through the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Creation Offer, farmers are paid to create new woodland on areas as small as one hectare.
As part of it, land managers have the potential to receive a grant of over £10,000 for every hectare of new woodland created. The woodland creation grants support the creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, including along rivers to improve the water environment and through natural colonisation. With this support, converting marginal or unproductive land into new woodland could also create additional income streams for farmers.
Defra and the Forestry Commission said farmers taking part will be able to transfer to an environmental land management scheme without having to repay the current funding. Tenant farmers can receive England Woodland Creation Offer funding if both they and their landlord are content with the tree planting proposals
Woodland creation grants are one of the options that farmers will have as part of England’s new post-Brexit agriculture policy.
The current drive follows the publication of the Trees Action Plan last year, which committed to treble tree planting rates by the end of this parliament – to at least 7,000ha of trees per year in England.
Defra’s farming minister, Victoria Prentis said: “Our new schemes are about supporting the choices that individual farmers and landowners make for their own holdings. These grants are available to help farmers and landowners grow and manage more trees as a profitable part of their overall business model. I would encourage them to look at that support where they feel that it is the right choice for their business.”
Forestry Commission chief executive, Richard Stanford added that creating woodlands can be an ‘excellent way’ to diversify farms, especially on marginal land.
“There are exciting opportunities to grow and manage trees in a way that maximises the benefits they provide for climate, nature, people and the economy.”