Woodland Grants and Incentives Overview Table

Woodland Grants and Incentives Overview Table

There’s nothing quite as rewarding as creating and maintaining your own woodland. Not only does it contribute to the environment, but it also brings a sense of fulfillment and tranquility. Whether you’re a landowner, land manager, or simply a nature enthusiast, there are numerous grants and incentives available to support your woodland creation, maintenance, management, and tree health. In this article, we’ll provide you with a brief overview of these opportunities. For more detailed information, please visit the Tips Tree Planting website or contact your local Forestry Commission (FC) office.

1. Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG)

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1.1 Summary

The Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) offers funding to prepare a UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) compliant Woodland Creation Design Plan. This grant is available to landowners, land managers, and public bodies who wish to support the planning of woodland creation.

1.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, the WCPG is open year-round.

1.3 Are there financial incentives available?

At stage 1, you can apply for £1,500 to complete a checklist. At stage 2, you can receive £150 per hectare to produce a woodland creation design plan, minus the initial £1,500 offered at stage 1. Additionally, you may receive funding for additional specialist surveys. The funding is capped at £30,500 per project. Rest assured that you will receive a minimum payment of £1,500 for approved Stage 1 work and a minimum of £500 for approved Stage 2 work.

1.4 Can I apply alongside other FC grant and funding schemes?

If you have already applied for a woodland creation grant, such as the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO), or submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment enquiry form to plant a new woodland, you are not eligible to apply for the WCPG on that site. However, you can apply for EWCO once the FC has made you a Stage 2 offer under the WCPG.

1.5 Minimum area

The minimum area for the WCPG is 5 hectares or more.

1.6 Minimum woodland block size

Each woodland block must meet the minimum requirements set out by the National Forest Inventory, which stipulate a minimum area of 0.5 hectares and a minimum width of 20 meters. It’s important to consider these thresholds if you intend to seek grant aid for planting the woodland.

1.7 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

No registration with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is required for the WCPG.

1.8 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

The WCPG does not require eligibility for the Basic Payment Scheme.

1.9 Does it include support for leaky woody dams?

No, the WCPG does not provide support for leaky woody dams.

1.10 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the Woodland Creation Planning Grant, visit the Tips Tree Planting website.

2. England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO)

2.1 Summary

The England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) is a flagship grant scheme designed to encourage farmers and land managers to invest in woodland creation. By creating woodlands, you can contribute to mitigating climate change, promoting nature recovery, and providing wider environmental and social benefits.

2.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, EWCO is open year-round.

2.3 Are there financial incentives available?

In addition to covering the standard capital costs of tree planting and annual maintenance payments for 15 years, EWCO also offers additional contributions per hectare for various elements such as nature recovery, water quality, reduced flood risk, riparian buffers, proximity to settlements, and public access.

2.4 Can I apply alongside other FC grant and funding schemes?

Please note that you cannot switch from one grant that pays for woodland establishment to another. However, before applying to EWCO, you may want to consider using the WCPG to prepare a UKFS-compliant Woodland Creation Design Plan, which can subsequently support your EWCO application.

2.5 Minimum area

The minimum total size of woodland included in an EWCO application is 1 hectare.

2.6 Minimum woodland block size

All woodland blocks within an EWCO application must be 0.1 hectare or more in size, with a minimum width of 20 meters (except for riparian buffers and shelterbelts, where the minimum width is 10 meters).

2.7 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

Yes, applicant and land registration with the RPA is required for EWCO.

2.8 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

Eligible land under EWCO can also be used to claim payments via the Basic Payment Scheme. For more information, refer to the Tips Tree Planting website.

2.9 Does it include support for leaky woody dams?

Yes, EWCO includes support for leaky woody dams.

2.10 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the England Woodland Creation Offer, visit the Tips Tree Planting website.

3. HS2 Woodland Fund (HS2WF)

3.1 Summary

The HS2 Woodland Fund (HS2WF) provides funding for woodland creation and restoration of plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) within a 25-mile zone of phase one of the HS2 route. From May 2023, woodland creation under the HS2WF will be delivered via EWCO.

3.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, HS2WF is open year-round. However, the PAWS element is subject to quarterly application review panels.

3.3 Are there financial incentives available?

PAWS restoration will cover 100% of fixed standard costs for a range of capital items related to planting and protecting new trees. Woodland creation will be delivered via EWCO, which offers a variety of financial incentives.

3.4 Can I apply alongside other FC grant and funding schemes?

You cannot get an HS2WF agreement if your land is already under an Environmental Stewardship agreement or a Countryside Stewardship agreement. However, you may still apply if the existing agreement is due to expire or you plan to withdraw the land from it (financial penalties may apply). Rest assured that you can apply for other woodland creation grants alongside HS2WF if the relevant contracts were signed after October 29, 2018.

3.5 Minimum area

For PAWS restoration, the minimum application size is 0.5 hectares. Woodland creation thresholds match those of EWCO.

3.6 Minimum woodland block size

For PAWS restoration, the minimum felling coupe size is 0.1 hectare. Woodland creation thresholds match those of EWCO.

3.7 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

Applicant and land registration is not required for the PAWS restoration element of the woodland fund.

3.8 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

For PAWS restoration, Basic Payment Scheme eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis if applicable. Woodland creation under EWCO can be used to claim payments via the Basic Payment Scheme. Visit the Tips Tree Planting website for more information.

3.9 Does it include support for leaky woody dams?

Yes, HS2WF includes support for leaky woody dams.

3.10 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the HS2 Woodland Fund, visit the Tips Tree Planting website.

4. Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF)

4.1 Summary

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) provides capital funding for planting and establishing large ‘standard’ trees in urban and peri-urban areas. The fund also offers three years of establishment payments following tree planting.

4.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, UTCF is open year-round. Funding is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

4.3 Are there financial incentives available?

UTCF covers 80% of published standard costs for planting large ‘standard’ trees and their establishment costs for three years. The remaining funding must be provided by the recipient in the form of money or labor.

4.4 Can I apply alongside other FC grant and funding schemes?

Please note that you cannot switch from one grant that pays for woodland establishment to another. However, you are welcome to apply for UTCF alongside other suitable grant schemes.

4.5 Minimum area

There is no minimum area size to apply for UTCF, but individual applications must meet a minimum value threshold.

4.6 Minimum woodland block size

For street trees, parkland trees, orchards, and other plantings, the minimum block size is 10 standard trees.

4.7 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

No applicant or land registration with the RPA is required for UTCF.

4.8 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

Basic Payment Scheme eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis if applicable.

4.9 Does it include support for leaky woody dams?

No, UTCF does not include support for leaky woody dams.

4.10 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, visit the Tips Tree Planting website.

5. Woodland Carbon Code (WCC)

5.1 Summary

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is the UK’s voluntary carbon standard for woodland creation projects. By meeting this standard, landowners can sell the carbon sequestered in their woodlands in the form of Woodland Carbon Units.

5.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, the WCC is open year-round.

5.3 Are there financial incentives available?

Buyers have recently paid between £5 and £15 per tonne of carbon dioxide (tCO2e) for carbon units captured by woodland projects verified through the Woodland Carbon Code. The specific financial incentives will depend on the carbon market at the time of selling.

5.4 Can I apply alongside other FC grant and funding schemes?

Please note that you cannot switch from one grant that pays for woodland establishment to another. However, if you apply for WCC registration, you are not excluded from applying for other FC grant and funding schemes.

5.5 Minimum area

There is no minimum size requirement for the WCC, and there is a streamlined process for small woods that are less than 5 hectares.

5.6 Minimum woodland block size

There is no specific minimum woodland block size for the WCC.

5.7 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

No applicant or land registration with the RPA is required for the WCC.

5.8 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

Basic Payment Scheme eligibility is not required for the WCC.

5.9 Does it include support for leaky woody dams?

Not applicable.

5.10 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the Woodland Carbon Code, visit the Tips Tree Planting website.

6. Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG)

6.1 Summary

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG) is an incentive scheme aimed at accelerating woodland planting rates across England to mitigate the effects of climate change. By participating in the WCaG, landowners can permanently remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

6.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, applications for the WCaG are open year-round. However, participation in the scheme is through periodic auctions, and there are cut-off dates for applications before each auction.

6.3 Are there financial incentives available?

The WCaG provides landowners with the option to sell their captured CO2 to the government for a guaranteed price every five or ten years up to 2055/56. Alternatively, participants can choose to sell the CO2 on the open market. The government will buy the CO2 at the price bid by the landowner during the auction, which is protected against inflation for the duration of the contract.

6.4 Can I apply alongside other FC grant and funding schemes?

Yes, applications for the WCaG can be made alongside other woodland creation grants, such as EWCO, Countryside Stewardship, or the HS2WF. However, any other contracts must have been signed after October 29, 2018, to be eligible for the WCaG.

6.5 Minimum area

The WCaG does not have specific minimum area thresholds. The minimum area for a successful WCaG project will be based on the requirements of any associated establishment grant scheme.

6.6 Minimum woodland block size

The WCaG does not have specific minimum woodland block size requirements. The minimum size of woodland blocks in a WCaG project will depend on the associated establishment grant scheme.

6.7 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

The WCaG does not have any specific applicant or land registration requirements with the RPA. Registration requirements will be those of any associated establishment or maintenance grant scheme.

6.8 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

Basic Payment Scheme eligibility will depend on the eligibility criteria of any associated establishment or maintenance grant.

6.9 Does it include support for leaky woody dams?

Not applicable.

6.10 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, visit the Tips Tree Planting website.

7. Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF)

The Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF) is a grant scheme specifically designed for local authorities (LAs). Its aim is to drive an increase in non-woodland tree planting across various landscapes. The fund supports the planting of trees in hedgerows, parklands, riparian zones, urban areas, roadsides, and footpaths, as well as small linear woodlands, copses, and shelterbelts. For more information on the LATF, please refer to the relevant resources provided by your local authority.

8. Countryside Stewardship grants

Under the Countryside Stewardship (CS) program, various woodland grants are available. These grants are jointly delivered by the Forestry Commission, Natural England, and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of Defra. The CS Woodland Creation grant, however, is no longer accepting new applicants. If you already have a CS Woodland Creation grant, you can continue with the agreed-upon capital works as per the FC’s instructions. Once the capital works are complete, you will be invited to apply for the 10-year CS Woodland Creation Maintenance agreement.

9. Woodland Management Planning Grant (WMP) part of Countryside Stewardship

9.1 Summary

The Woodland Management Planning Grant (WMP) offers a one-time payment to create a 10-year Woodland Management Plan that complies with the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS).

9.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, the WMP is open year-round.

9.3 Are there financial incentives available?

The payment rate for the WMP depends on the area of woodland:

  • 3 to 50 hectares: a flat rate of £1,500
  • 51 to 100 hectares: £30 per hectare
  • Over 100 hectares: £3,000 + £15 per additional hectare over 100 hectares

9.4 Is this Higher Tier, Mid Tier, or a capital item?

The WMP is a capital item.

9.5 Can I apply alongside other FC and CS grant and funding schemes?

Yes, you can apply for the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Improvement Grant (part of the Higher Tier) as long as your Woodland Management Plan is approved.

9.6 Minimum area

The minimum area for the WMP is 3 hectares.

9.7 Minimum woodland block size

The minimum woodland block size for the WMP is 0.5 hectares.

9.8 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

Yes, applicant and land registration with the RPA is required for the WMP.

9.9 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

Basic Payment Scheme eligibility is not required for the WMP.

9.10 Does it include support for leaky woody dams (RP32 and RP33)?

No, the WMP does not provide support for leaky woody dams.

9.11 Does it include support for woodland infrastructure (FY2)?

No, support for woodland infrastructure is not included in the WMP.

9.12 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the Woodland Management Planning Grant, refer to the Tips Tree Planting website.

10. Woodland Tree Health part of Countryside Stewardship

10.1 Summary

The Woodland Tree Health grant under Countryside Stewardship consists of two elements: restoration and improvement. Restoration support is provided for restocking woodland after felling due to a tree health issue, while improvement support is available for the removal of diseased trees and infected rhododendron.

10.2 Can I apply year round?

Yes, the Woodland Tree Health grant is open year-round.

10.3 Are there financial incentives available?

For restocking native tree species on ancient woodland sites, the payment is capped at an average of £6,000 per hectare (£3,000 per hectare for non-native species). On other sites, the payment is £4,720 per hectare for native species (£3,850 per hectare for non-native species). The grant also provides support for the felling of diseased trees and the control of rhododendron.

10.4 Is this Higher Tier, Mid Tier, or a capital item?

The Woodland Tree Health grant is a capital item.

10.5 Can I apply alongside other FC and CS grant and funding schemes?

Yes, you can apply for the Woodland Tree Health grant alongside other FC and CS grants as long as you have an approved Woodland Management Plan.

10.6 Minimum area

The minimum area for the Woodland Tree Health grant is 0.25 hectares.

10.7 Minimum woodland block size

The minimum woodland block size for the grant is 0.1 hectares.

10.8 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

Yes, applicant and land registration with the RPA is required for the Woodland Tree Health grant.

10.9 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

Basic Payment Scheme eligibility is applicable while the grant agreement is in place and where the land can be claimed under the Basic Payment Scheme as RD01.

10.10 Does it include support for leaky woody dams (RP32 and RP33)?

No, support for leaky woody dams is not included in the Woodland Tree Health grant.

10.11 Does it include support for woodland infrastructure (FY2)?

No, support for woodland infrastructure is not included in the Woodland Tree Health grant.

10.12 Where can I find out more?

For more information about the Woodland Tree Health grant, refer to the Tips Tree Planting website.

11. Woodland Improvement (WD2 and capital items) part of Countryside Stewardship

11.1 Summary

The Woodland Improvement grant aims to enhance the biodiversity of woodlands and make them more resilient to climate change. Applications for Woodland Improvement can be made under the Higher Tier using the Woodland Improvement option (WD2) and/or capital items, including Woodland Infrastructure (FY2).

11.2 Can I apply year round?

No, applications for Woodland Improvement are made during the Higher Tier submission window, which is announced each year.

11.3 Are there financial incentives available?

The WD2 option provides £100 per hectare for five years. Capital items, such as woodland infrastructure, can receive 40% of actual costs. Leaky woody dams (RP32) receive £461.39 each, while large leaky woody dams (RP33) receive £764.42 each.

11.4 Is this Higher Tier, Mid Tier, or a capital item?

Woodland Improvement is part of the Higher Tier.

11.5 Can I apply alongside other FC and CS grant and funding schemes?

Yes, you can apply for Woodland Improvement alongside other FC and CS grant schemes. However, an existing FC-approved Woodland Management Plan is a prerequisite.

11.6 Minimum area

  • 3 hectares for woodland-only applications
  • 1 hectare for woodlands designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • 0.5 hectares of woodland within a mixed application that includes agri-environment land
  • £500 for capital items only

11.7 Minimum woodland block size

The minimum woodland block size for Woodland Improvement is 0.5 hectares.

11.8 Applicant and land registration with the RPA

Applicant and land registration with the RPA is required for Woodland Improvement.

11.9 Basic Payment Scheme eligibility

Basic Payment Scheme eligibility is not required for Woodland Improvement.

11.10 Does it include support for leaky woody dams (RP32 and RP33)?

Yes, support for leaky woody dams is included in Woodland Improvement.

11.11 Does it include support for woodland infrastructure (FY2)?

Yes, an existing FC-approved Woodland Management Plan must identify poor vehicle access to the woodland, preventing the movement of forest products.

11.12 Where can I find out more?

For more information about Woodland Improvement, refer to the Tips Tree Planting website.

12. Tree Health Pilot Scheme

The Tree Health Pilot Scheme is a grant program specifically for owners and managers of trees and woodlands to help combat tree pests and diseases. Currently running in target areas across the South East, North West, and West Midlands, the pilot scheme tests and refines new support variations for tree health issues. The knowledge gained from the pilot will inform the design of an expanded Countryside Stewardship grant available in the future. Grants are available for various tree health issues, including larch trees with Phytophthora ramorum, spruce trees affected by Ips typographus, sweet chestnut trees with Phytophthora ramorum or sweet chestnut blight, oak trees with oak processionary moth (OPM), and ash trees with ash dieback. For more information, please refer to the Tips Tree Planting website.

Remember, this is just a brief overview of the grants and incentives available for woodland creation, maintenance, management, and tree health. For more detailed information, guidance, and application procedures, visit the Tips Tree Planting website or contact your local Forestry Commission (FC) office. Happy tree planting!

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