Financial incentives offered to kick-start Northern Forest

Farmers and landowners in the north of England are being offered a subsidised tree planting package to encourage them to commit land to the new Northern Forest.

It is planned the forest will extend from Liverpool to Hull and will involve planting more than 50m trees over the next 25 years.

To incentivise more landowners to get involved, the Woodland Trust has said it will contribute up to 85% of the costs to anyone wanting to plant more than half a hectare of woodland through its MOREwoods scheme.

See also: Landowners to gain support for plan to create Northern Forest 

This scheme offers tailored advice to landowners who want to undertake large-scale tree planting, along with practical and financial support.

Landowners who plant the trees themselves will be able to recoup up to 85% of the costs.

If using a contractor, landowners will have up to 70% of their costs covered.

The costs that are covered by the subsidy include the trees, tree protection and delivery, along with the support and advice provided.

Any costs associated with preparing the land for the trees is not included as part of the subsidy.

Emma Briggs, who heads up the Trust’s MOREwoods project, said: “The area covered by the Northern Forest has below-average woodland cover – just 7.6% compared with the UK average of 13% – but we have above-average ambition and farmers, smallholders and landowners are an integral part of our vision.

“There are so many reasons to plant trees. They improve soil quality and stability, slow the flow of flooding, provide shelter for crops and livestock, attract pollinators, and can provide an additional cash crop, a source of fuel and a home for wildlife.”

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