Lancaster district farmers and landowners encouraged to apply for woodland creation grant

Farmers and landowners throughout Lancashire are being encouraged to apply for a grant that will support the creation of woodland on their land.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 10:17 am

The England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO), which is due to open to applications soon, will be administered by the Forestry Commission to support landowners and land managers to create new woodland.

A replacement to the Woodland Carbon Fund, which closed for applications in March, the EWCO follows the UK government’s commitment to ambitious tree planting through the launch of its England Trees Action Plan for 2021 -2024 that is designed to provide a long-term vision for trees and woodlands in England.

It gives a promise to triple the current tree planting rate in the country so that the UK hits its 30,000 hectares per year target.

Funded through the Nature for Climate Fund, the EWCO grants will support the creation of over 10,000 hectares of new woodland over its lifetime.

Funded through the Nature for Climate Fund, the EWCO grants will support the creation of over 10,000 hectares of new woodland over its lifetime.

It is understood that EWCO will cover capital costs, at a 100% intervention rate (up to a per hectare cap), and will also provide annual maintenance payments for 10 years, payments towards forest roads and tracks, and recreational infrastructure such as paths and picnic benches.

There will also be stackable additional contributions in recognition of the public benefits that well-designed woodland, created in the right locations, will generate.

The additional contributions cover things such as nature recovery, riparian buffers, access, water quality, reduced flood risk and close to settlements.

Mark Gordon from Savills

Mark Gordon, director and head of forestry in the north at Savills, said: “Applications are expected to open imminently, so now is an ideal time to start thinking about the support that EWCO can provide.

"This new grant offer is flexible to allow landowners to create a woodland that meets their own objectives and those of government; and we’ve had several clients ask us already about how they can best utilise the EWCO.

“Forestry is a multi-functional asset, with multiple ecosystem services flowing from it, whether it be timber, carbon, flood prevention or public access.

"Woodlands are increasingly being understood and utilised for their holistic value.

"The EWCO provides extra incentive for the creation of new broadleaves woodlands, especially those which extend existing priority woodlands, benefit water habitats, or provide access to the public.”

From 2024 the ELM Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes will be the main mechanisms for publicly funded woodland creation.

Other new concepts being introduced through the England Trees Action Plan will be the formation of Woodland Creation Partnerships to encourage local stakeholders collaborating and help secure private finance; and ‘Long Established Woodland’ that has been in situ since 1840 will be protected in the planning system.