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Branch out with woodland!

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Forest workers on tree planting course

The Forestry Commission is encouraging landowners and land managers to start planning now to apply for funding for woodland creation available through the 2018 Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Application forms and guidance for the Countryside Stewardship woodland creation grant are now available online.  This is much earlier than in previous years; giving landowners, managers and agents more time to develop their plans ahead of the window for submitting applications opens in January 2018.

Countryside stewardship offers two year capital grants of up to £6,800 per hectare to support ground preparation, fencing and tree protection and initial maintenance, and an option to subsequently apply for a maintenance payment for up to 10 years, covering the initial period while trees become established.

This funding aims to create woodlands for biodiversity, water quality and flood management. But woodlands also offer economic opportunities in rural areas.  As woodlands mature they can provide a good source of income thanks to thriving timber and woodfuel industries and multiple recreational uses.  Other benefits include carbon storage, shelter for livestock and improved soil.

If you have land available and want to realise some or all of these benefits by planting new woodland you are encouraged to start preparing applications for the funding now.  Applicants are advised to contact the Forestry Commission as early as possible to get the most out of the advice and assistance on offer.

The application process has been improved this year, making it easier to apply.  For example, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements are now an integrated part of the application process, making it clearer and easier.

Richard Greenhous, Director of Forest Services for Forestry Commission England said:

“By investing in woodlands now, you will be in the best position to reap the benefits of a sector with a bright future, thanks to rising timber prices and new opportunities in carbon storage.  By planting trees now, you are also investing long term in our landscape and environment. 

“Our Forestry Commission teams are on hand to advise on applications and help you make the most of funding available to create valuable new woodland.  We can help applicants ensure they have all the information they need to plant the right trees in the right places, in order to meet your project’s goals.

“We look forward to hearing from applicants who want to reap the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable woodland creation.”

The Woodland Creation Grant is open to all land managers - owner occupiers; tenants, land lords and licensors, as long as they have control of all the land and all the activities needed to meet the obligations of the grant for the full duration of the agreement.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • a 2 year capital grant (for fencing and tree protection and initial maintenance, including new this year wall top netting and access infrastructure)
  • opportunity to apply for annual maintenance payments for up to ten years (to ensure the best start for your woodland)

To access the forms and guidance please visit: