Action to get more trees in the ground, create more jobs and improve access to nature across the country has been stepped up (Sunday 31 October) with a new £6m ‘Trees Call to Action Fund’.
Grants of £250,000 to £500,000 will be awarded to projects across England, at least three of which will be for new regional partnerships set up to create woodlands at a large scale and improve people’s access to nature, following the Forest for Cornwall and Great Northumberland Forest partnerships.
The fund will competitively allocate funding to up to 24 regional or national projects managed by partnerships of environmental charities, not-for-profit organisations, local authorities and protected landscape bodies.
Funding will be targeted at regions, activities and costs which are not supported by other government funding for trees, aiming to increase community understanding of and access to trees and woodlands, and boost efforts to increase woodland cover in areas that need it most.
To increase the capacity and skills of the sector, the fund will also support projects to engage people with trees, create new jobs and develop skills and knowledge, for example this could be by developing training and placement programmes for new foresters and woodland managers.
Today’s announcement will support progress towards the Government’s commitment in the England Trees Action Plan to at least treble planting rates by the end of this Parliament. The Plan, supported by over £500m from the Nature for Climate Fund, outlines how the government will deliver this target, by announcing a programme of measures to boost tree planting and improve woodland management in England. Projects will be required to outline how they can best deliver against the England Trees Action Plan.
Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “With the climate change summit COP26 just days away, there has never been a more important time for trees and tree planting.
“This new Fund will help fund regional and national partnerships of charities, local authorities and others to turn ambitions into actions, to engage communities and landowners in tree planting, and to develop skills to help deliver our England Trees Action Plan.”
Forestry Commission chief executive, Richard Stanford, said: “To meet the climate and biodiversity crises we need to grow and manage more trees – this needs to be done as a national effort so we are better connecting people with nature and creating more green jobs. This Fund will have a hugely important role in helping us realise these ambitions, as set out in the England Trees Action Plan.
“I would urge any prospective applicant to apply, together we will grow trees, woods and forests to make our nation more resilient for future generations.”