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The Forestry Commission has created a new woodland grant for landowners and land managers to plant new woodland. The England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) gives financial incentives for a wide range of benefits which comes with planting new woodland and is available for schemes as small as 1 hectare. You could receive up to £10,200 per hectare and a further £8,000 per hectare in additional contributions for public benefits.

EWCO will become part of the Countryside Stewardship scheme from 2025. This continues the government’s pledge that no one will be made worse off if they start planting now rather than waiting for future schemes.

How the scheme works?

There are four types of payment available:

·      Support for the capital items and activities to establish new woodland, with payments covering 100% of standard costs, up to £10,200 per hectare

·      Ten years of annual maintenance payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete of £350 per hectare per annum

·      Contribution towards the actual cost of installing infrastructure to either enable the current and future management of the woodland or to provide recreational access

·      Optional additional contributions where the location of the woodland and its design will deliver public benefits. You can apply for multiple additional contributions on the same land where the woodland is in the right location and the design will provide multiple public benefits

Are you eligible?

Land in England

·      Within full management control of the applicant

·      Not already classified as woodland

·      Not subject to any existing legal requirement or obligation to create new woodland

·      Not subject to a dispute between landlords and tenants

·      Not currently within an existing grant agreement that has more than five months left to run at the time the Woodland Creation Offer application is submitted

The criteria for EWCO is based on competitive scheme. Agreements will be offered to those with woodland creations proposals whose score meets or exceeds a threshold score.

Additional Contributions

These are optional and will be available where the woodland’s location and design will deliver benefits to the public. They are one off payments that can be claimed once all capital works are completed. Additional contributions can be combined so you can apply for multiple on the same land, where appropriate.

Additional contributions include:

·      Nature Recovery – up to £2,800 per hectare for woodlands that restore nature and species

·      Flood Risk - £500 per hectare for woodlands that reduce the risk of flooding

·      Water Quality - £400 per hectare for woodlands that will improve water quality

·      Riparian Buffers - £1,600 per hectare for woodlands along riverbanks that improve water habitat

·      Close to Settlements – up to £500 per hectare for creating woodlands close to where people live

·      Recreational Access – up to £2,200 per hectare for providing access to woodlands for the public to enjoy

This grant is open all year round and so if you would like to discuss the options available to you, please do not hesitate to contact our expert Ella Redrup on  01507 350517. We are always happy to help.