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Forest chiefs help raise the bog standard

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The wooded hills of the Marches

The Forestry Commission has unveiled a grant scheme to support the vital work of the Marches Meres and Mosses Nature Improvement Area (NIA) in Cheshire and North Shropshire.

The NIA - one of 12 such areas in England announced by the Government  last February - is one of the nation’s largest and most ecologically diverse cluster of natural wetlands.  Defra has allocated £560,000 to restore and enhance 40,000 hectares of fragile landscape.

Now forest chiefs want to encourage landowners to nurture trees in areas where they contribute to the NIA’s overall aims.

Ewan Calcott from the Forestry Commission explained:

“The Meres and Mosses NIA is a really exciting project. Restoring wetland areas will in some cases involve removing trees, either to re-wet the ground or to prevent them shading out other vegetation. But we are also keen to promote tree planting in other suitable areas, such as along streamsides. This will add to this vibrant mix of habitats and also help improve water quality by preventing soil erosion. We want to work with our partners to encourage the right tree to be planted in the right place.” 

Grants up to £4,800 per hectare are available for schemes which meet eligibility rules.  Projects outside the NIA area may be supported if they help further its objectives. 

Supporting new tree cover in NIAs is one of the national priorities highlighted in a revamped English Woodland Creation Grant Scheme.  Others include planting trees to improve water quality and alleviate the severity of flooding, linking together existing woodland habitats, providing publicly accessible woods and creating productive woods to boost the rural economy.  Geographical and eligibility rules apply.   For more information go to or contact 01524 565800.


Notes to Editor

  1. English Woodland Creation Grant (WCG)

    The basic planting grant for broadleaves and conifers has increased by £1,000 per hectare, providing a basic planting rate of £2,800 for broadleaves and £2,200 for conifers per hectare.  Additional Contributions are provided to support delivery of priorities.  New woodlands delivering key priorities will be eligible for an additional £2,000 per hectare. New woodlands delivering other priorities will be eligible for an additional £1,000 per hectare.   Key priorities relate to the value that trees and woodlands can play in support of:

    Water Framework Directive (WFD);

    The aims of Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs)

    Offering permissive access in Priority Places – such areas are based on data that includes populations, deprivation indices and existing public access provision.

    Creating, connecting or expanding native woodlands to five hectares or more;

    Creating new conifer woodlands up to three greater than previously restored native habitat.  

    Where eligible, WCG payments are supported with Farm Woodland Payments and compatible with Single Farm Payments. For further details go to

  2. Forestry Commission England runs the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) to protect, improve and expand our forests, as set out in the government's Natural Environment White Paper EWGS is a part of the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE). Further information about these schemes can be found at

  3. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.

  4. Media calls: Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.