Farmers and landowners are being urged to take advantage of increased funding for planting trees in England.
Higher basic grant rates (up to £2,800/ha) and top-up payments in priority areas (up to £2,000) mean payments of up to £4,800/ha are potentially available for establishing new broadleaf woods under the Forestry Commission’s England Woodland Grant Scheme.
Those that apply for grants before the end of 2013 could also qualify for the annual Farm Woodland Payments for a period of 10-15 years, providing an additional £60-300/ha a year, depending on the site. Applications made after the end of next year may miss out on this additional income source, the Woodland Trust warned.
Farm woodland payments can be claimed alongside the single payment.
“We very much welcome the substantial increases in woodland creation grants in England and hope that anyone wanting to plant trees will get in touch with us to take advantage of the help we offer.”
Any bare land is potentially eligible to be considered for a Woodland Creation Grant, but each application will be tested against relevant legislation, environmental standards and other requirements. Rules state that woodland intended primarily for biomass fuel may not be eligible for grants, although native coppice is eligible where it delivers environmental benefits.
Alongside grants for new woodlands, the EWGS also provides funding for improving existing woodlands, regular management, developing a management plan and for the regeneration of woods after a period of felling.
“We very much welcome the substantial increases in woodland creation grants in England and hope that anyone wanting to plant trees will get in touch with us to take advantage of the help we offer,” the Woodland Trust’s John Tucker said.
The Woodland Trust offers advice in making the most of available funding and also has a scheme that can help fund the cost of planting small-scale woodland not eligible for the EWGS.
Go to www.forestry.gov.uk and click on Grants and regulations. Information on grants for planting and managing woodlands in Scotland is available from www.scotland.gov.uk, while information on Welsh grants is on the Forestry Commission site.