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NEWS RELEASE No: 1382826 JULY 2010

Cash incentives offered in drive to boost North West England's woodland cover

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north west countryside

The Forestry Commission is offering grants to landowners as part of a drive to boost the amount of woodland in the North West of England.

Farmers can receive up to 3,800 per hectare for agricultural land, as well as receiving additional annual payments and their Single Farm Payment.

The Forestry Commission, which is responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests, is looking to offer around 3 million in grants to help increase the woodland cover, and its management, in the North West – one of the UK’s least wooded regions.

North West England has woodland cover of around 6.8 per cent, which is some way behind the national average of 8.4 per cent. This works out at around 14 hectares – or the equivalent of just under 14 football pitches – of woodland for every thousand people in the North West. The national average is 22 hectares per thousand people.

The Forestry Commission in the North West of England is looking to redress this balance by offering cash incentives to encourage landowners to allocate land for tree planting.

Landowners can receive 1,800 per hectare as a standard grant for new native woodland creation. The Forestry Commission will also pay farmers additional grants for a further 15 years to keep livestock off the allocated land.

More money is also available if the land is within target areas to support priority actions within the North West. For example areas deemed important for the protection of woodland birds or butterflies or where woodlands contribute to soil and water protection. Land in these areas could attract a further 1,000 per hectare in grant funding.

Additional incentives are also available for landowners who provide public access into the newly created areas of woodland.

Kevin May, Grants, Regulation and Partnership Manager for the Forestry Commission in North West England, said:

“We are determined to increase the proportion of woodland that exists in the North West.

“Woodlands are important for a number of reasons. They provide habitat for numerous species of wildlife; they contribute to peoples well being by improving the appearance of places as well as providing opportunities for recreation. Trees also absorb carbon and help to reduce our contribution to climate change.

“We would like anyone in the region who has land they would like to turn into woodland to contact us so we can work together to achieve an increase in our region’s woodland cover.”

Last year 280 hectares of new woodland was created through Forestry Commission grants.

The closing date for applications for Woodland Improvement Grants is September 30 this year.

Anyone interested in making an application should contact the Forestry Commission on 01524 565800 or email Further information can also be found at or

1. 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. For further information visit

2. Forestry Commission England runs the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) to support and promote the national and regional delivery of forestry policy, as set out in the Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forests. EWGS is a part of the Defra funded Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE). Further information about these schemes can be found at:

3. The Forestry Commission (FC) North West England (NWE) is a regional arm of the Forestry Commission. It supports the delivery of widespread public benefits across the region, using woodland management and creation as the basis for change. The FC NWE region has a diverse remit; as a grant giving body to the woodland sector; the region's forestry regulatory body; helping the region to address climate change by developing wood fuel supply; supporting and developing the region's forest and woodland industries; actively promoting and protecting the Northwest's natural heritage (especially ancient trees and woodlands) and enabling communities across the region to live healthier lives. For further information visit

Kevin May (Grants, Regulation and Partnership Manager) or Penny Oliver (Policy & Development Officer) on 017687 76616 or 07771 813139 for Kevin or 07786 171654 for Penny.