Grants of up to £4,000 are on offer to landowners in 10 counties of England to create small areas of native woodland.
The Woodland Trust has launched a pilot scheme, open to people looking to create woods of one to three hectares in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
The scheme, called Trustwoods, will work on a first-come, first-served basis, with the aim that decisions on funding will be made in time to enable planting to take place during the winter of 2019-20.
Applicants will need to make sure their proposed new woodland meets at least one of the following criteria. It should:
- Extend existing ancient woodland
- Extend other woodland
- Increase ecological connectivity, such as linking hedgerows
- Engage the public – for example, with a new tree-planting event
- Increase public access to woodland
- Enhance the ecological, cultural and visual value of the landscape
‘Part of solution’
John Tucker, director of woodland outreach at the Woodland Trust, said: “We need new woodland like never before.
“The government has recently committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“The expansion of the UK’s tree canopy cover from 13% to 17% is an essential part of the solution, but for the country to reach that target, we need to see a threefold increase in current woodland-creation levels.”
The Woodland Trust has appointed the independent Woodland Advisors Group to run Trustwoods.
Landowners must commission a Woodland Advisors Group consultant (names can be found on its website) to design and cost the new wood.
These plans can then be uploaded with a map and design of the new woodland, as part of an online application, to the Woodland trust website.