With the clear benefits to farmland and the growing links between farm payments and environmental works, more and more farmers are keen to create woodlands.
All four UK nations now support tree planting, maintenance and associated works with grant aid.
We have rounded up a guide to the main schemes available to UK farmers.
See also: Q&A: How funding for woods and hedges works for information on the Woodland Trust’s MOREwoods and MOREhedges initiatives.
England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO)
- Landowners and farmers can apply for support to create new woodland on at least 1ha
- Four types of payment:
- 100% funding for woodland creation
- 10 years of annual maintenance payments for tree establishment
- Contribution to installation of infrastructure for current and future woodland management, and recreational access
- Optional contributions where woodland will deliver public benefits
- EWCO opened for applications on 9 June 2021 and replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund
Forestry Commission www.gov.uk/guidance/england-woodland-creation-offer
Woodland Creation and Maintenance Grant (WCM) (Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier grant)
- Funding for woodland creation on at least 3ha, or 1ha when planting for air or water quality
- Total area can be made up of 0.5ha and 20m-wide blocks, or 0.1ha and 10m when planting for air or water quality
- Creation payments are capped at £6,800/ha
- Maintenance payments: £200/ha/year (10 years)
- WCM replaces the Woodland Creation Grant (WCG) and the Woodland Maintenance Payment (WD1)
- EWCO may offer higher payment rates
Forestry Commission, RPA, Defra: www.gov.uk/guidance/woodland-creation-grant-countryside-stewardship
Woodland Management Planning Grant (WMPG)
- One-off payment for a 10-year Woodland Management Plan on woodland areas of at least 3ha, or blocks of 0.5ha
- Payment rate:
- 3-50ha: £1,000 flat rate
- 51-100ha: £20/ha
- More than 100ha: £2,000 + £10 for every additional hectare
- Must be written and approval secured from the Forestry Commission within two years of the agreement starting
- Once the plan is approved, the grant can be claimed
Forestry Commission, RPA, Defra: www.gov.uk/guidance/woodland-management-plan-grant-countryside-stewardship
The Northern Forest project
- Up to 100% funding for woodland creation in the Northern Forest area
- Funding and advice supports woodland creation:
- To buffer or connect ancient woodland or existing woodland
- Create new woodland in sensitive landscapes such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
- Alongside other woodland project funding
- Funded by the government’s Nature for Climate Fund, funding and advice through the Woodland Trust
Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS)
- Supporting the creation of new woodlands and the sustainable management of existing woodlands
- Grant support for woodland creation is dependent on tree species and area of planting and payments (£/ha) are split into initial planting payment, annual maintenance for five years, and total payment rate
- Woodland creation must fit with the local authority woodland strategy
- In addition to the initial planting grant, there is funding for operational requirements
Scottish Government: www.ruralpayments.org/topics/all-schemes/forestry-grant-scheme/
Glastir Woodland Creation scheme (GWC)
- Grants are available through Forestry Commission Wales for the creation of new woodland and:
- For landowners with more than 0.25 hectares of land, can be made up of blocks of 0.1ha
- On land designated by Forestry Commission Wales and conservation bodies as suitable for new planting
- Application is through an Expression of Interest (EOI), it must be submitted by a registered planner on the landowners behalf.
- Grants under the scheme include:
- Establishment grants: Claimed following planting. Payments depend on woodland category. I.e. Native woodland (carbon) – new planting payment £4,500/ha, and annual maintenance payment £60/ha (12 years).
- Fencing grant rates are available at £3.48/m.
- Applicants may be eligible for premium payments of £350/ha/year or 12 years for the cessation of agricultural production.
- Successful EOI must then produce a GWC Plan, an £800 subsidy for costs is available.
Daera’s Small Woodland scheme
- Landowners can access funding for new woodland creation on areas 0.2ha or larger.
- Establishment grant for creation and maintenance: £2,925/ha with 80% claimed in first year and remaining 20% in the fifth year.
- Annual premia for income forgone: £350/ha/year for 10 years.
- Stock fence grant: £6/m for new stock fencing to be claimed in year 1.
- Woodland must be maintained for minimum of 20 years.
- Woodland must have:
- A minimum of 3 tree species, each comprising 10% or more of the area.
- Have 10% open space.
- Applications are taken online, an application phase opens on 21 June 2021, closing on 30 September 2021.
Woodland Trust MOREwoods scheme
Trees should be in every farmer’s toolbox. They boost productivity, resilience and the health of the environment – with no need to trade off with production. Make your planting project a success with the Woodland Trust’s MOREwoods scheme, funded by Lloyds Bank.
Plant at least 0.5ha and we could cover up to 75% of costs. An expert will visit to discuss the best options for your business and if eligible, arrange tree delivery and protection.
All trees are sourced and grown in the UK and Ireland. No obligation advice is available even if you decide not to plant.
Thanks to Woodland Trust, whose sponsorship made it possible for us to run this article. Farmers Weekly had full editorial control of its content.