Grant scheme for farm woodland creation to reopen

Funds are on offer for farmers and landowners in England who wish to create new woodland

The Woodland Creation Grant is a standalone capital grant operating under the umbrella of the Countryside Stewardship scheme.

A new application round of the scheme will open on 3 January and run until 1 March 2017.

See also: Strong timber prices lift interest in farm woodlands

Ben Rogerson, a farm business consultant in Strutt & Parker’s Morpeth office, said: “Farmers and other land managers can apply for capital grants to pay for the trees themselves and associated protection products such as guards and fencing.

“There is also a supporting maintenance grant of £200/ha available for 10 years.”

In order to receive support, new woodland creation must contribute to meeting biodiversity objectives, reduce flood risk or tackle diffuse water pollution.

There is a minimum area per application of 3ha, with a minimum block size of 0.5ha and a minimum width of 20m.

Native species

The new woodland should be made up of native species, but it can include a proportion of non-native or advancing/honorary species, such as sycamore.

“While the application window does not open until the new year, the forms are available now so people can make a start on them,” said Mr Rogerson.

“It’s a good idea to get on with it now and take advantage of what for some is a quieter time of year.

“It also gives woodland officers more time to make a site visit and make any necessary amendments to an application.”

Capital grant

The capital grant is paid per item – for example, £1.28/tree planted, £1.60/tree shelter, and £4/m of fencing – but there is a cap of £6,800/ha for capital items covering planting and protection.

Landowners can continue to claim their BPS payments throughout the woodland creation capital agreement and until the end of any subsequent 10-year woodland maintenance agreement.