As of Tuesday 2 January 2018, applicants can apply for the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant – a scheme to help landowners reap the environmental and financial benefits of woodland creation.
The grant is open to all qualifying land managers. Successful applicants will receive a two-year capital grant of up to £6,800 per hectare, as well as an opportunity to apply for annual maintenance payments for ten years.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Planting trees is one of the best ways we can invest in our environment for future generations. They provide a haven for wildlife, reduce flood risk and improve water quality – making them some of our most cherished assets.
“I have seen first-hand how planting trees can really make a difference at places such as the Lowther Estate in Cumbria, so I would urge landowners to apply to this scheme.
Richard Greenhous, Forest Services Director for the Forestry Commission, commented: “Aside from the environmental benefits, planting trees on your land can offer an alternative source of income.
“Your local Woodland Officer can provide advice and support throughout the application process.”
Guidance and application forms for the scheme were made available in September to give potential applicants more time to develop their plans. The process has now been streamlined to make it easier to apply.
Alongside the Woodland Creation Grant, landowners can also apply for the Woodland Creation Planning Grant to help with planning and proposals. This grant has already supported two large-scale planting schemes in England this autumn: Doddington North Moor in Northumberland and the Lowther Estate in Cumbria.
The Forestry Commission has appointed a new team of specialised woodland creation officers to assist landowners through the application process for large scale projects.
Mr Hugh Davis, the owner of Treworder Barton Farm in Cornwall, has received funding from the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant to plant a new productive woodland that enables him to quickly produce a crop of timber for wood markets. The grant has covered 80 per cent of the planting costs with an ongoing payment of £200 per hectare for the next 10 years.
Speaking about his application, Mr Davis said: “Planting is relatively straight forward. For the first two years, you need to keep weeds under control and protect young trees from other threats, for example pests, frost or drought. Once they are established, looking after the trees is relatively low maintenance.”
“The thing with forestry is that you can’t play catch up. You need to plan ahead and invest sooner rather than later. I’m very pleased I’ve done it.”