Morrisons tree advisers to help farmers meet planting targets

A team of specialist advisers will provide guidance on tree planting to farmers supplying Morrisons.

The supermarket chain is employing specialists to give advice on which varieties of trees to plant and where to plant them, in order to minimise impacts on farm businesses and improve sustainability and soil health.

Advice will also be given to farmers on how to make best use of government grants and funding for tree planting.

See also: Woodland Creation Offer: What farmers need to know

The scheme will initially work with 50 farmers, who are currently part of Morrisons’ net-zero blueprint farms, before being rolled out later this year to the 3,000 farm businesses which supply the retailer.

Morrisons, which has about 500 stores, plans to be supplied directly by net-zero British farms by 2030.

Sophie Throup, head of agriculture, said: “Many farmers, while recognising the value of trees in their landscape, are worried that tree-planting initiatives will mean that valuable land is taken from food production – even when funded by the government.

“We want to take this worry away and help farmers identify what trees work for them on their farm, in the right places and for the right reasons.”

The retailer will work in partnership with the Forestry Commission and Natural England to deliver the scheme.

Government funding for tree planting

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a £50m government scheme launched to increase the rate of tree planting in England.

The scheme gives landowners the option to sell woodland carbon units back to the government.

The England Woodland Creation Offer was launched by government in 2021 to encourage 10,000ha of new woodland by 2024.

The scheme is worth almost £16m and is paid as a 100% capital grant for tree planting of up to £8,500/ha.

Maintenance payments and additional payments for further environmental benefits, such as reduced flood risk, are available too.

Funding of up to £30,000 is also available through The Woodland Creation Planning Grant, which helps cover the cost of producing a detailed plan for new woodland in England.

Natural Resources Wales oversees Welsh tree planting schemes for new woodland creation.

The Forestry Grant Scheme in Scotland offers financial support and grants for new woodlands.