A new woodland creation grant is offering enhanced payment rates for planting the right tree in the right place.
The England Wood Creation Offer (EWCO) opened for applications on 9 June, replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund and is one of a suite of Forestry Commission initiatives to support woodland creation and tree planting across England.
EWCO is a criteria-based, competitive scheme, with funding offered on a first-come, first-served basis. There is £15.9m available in the first year, with the scheme providing enhanced payments rates to landowners.
The grant is administered by the Forestry Commission and is funded through the Nature for Climate Fund. It will support woodland creation in areas as small as 1 hectare (ha).
The grant can cover 100% of eligible standard capital costs of woodland creation, meaning costs are covered for buying and planting the trees, and then maintaining them for 10 years. Additional financial contributions are available for well-designed woodland that provide public and wider environmental benefits.
Farmers obtaining the EWCO will still be allowed to make the most of green finance opportunities, meaning they will be allowed to register their planting under the Woodland Carbon Code wherever eligible, to allow the future sale of high-quality woodland carbon credits to private buyers.
Commenting on the EWCO, chartered surveyor at property and land consultancy Berrys, Vicky Price, said: “This is one of the first grants that support woodland creation in an area as small as 1ha, so there is likely to be a lot of interest. Therefore, it is important farmers, landowners and land managers speak to their local Forestry Commission Woodland Officer as early as possible as the grant is on a first-come, first-served basis.
“For those with five hectares or more, it is also worth applying to the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) before EWCO as the WCPG contributes towards the costs of designing new woodland and will offer you access to expert advice from the Forestry Commission early on in the process.”