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Farmers encouraged to consider applying for support to introduce new woodlands on their land

10th November 2020

Landowners are being encouraged to consider applying to the Forestry Commission for support to design new woodlands under the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG).

Farmers and Landowners in England can apply for £1,000 to complete stage one of the Woodland Creation Design Plan Template. This is a desk-based exercise to identify the constraints and opportunities that may affect the proposed planting. If there’s potential for woodland creation to take place on the site, then farmers will be offered a stage two payment. At stage two, landowners can get £150 per hectare, minus the £1,000 offered at stage one, to complete stage two of the Woodland Creation Design Plan Template. Landowners may get supplementary payments for specialist survey work if a need for them is identified at stage one. If the application is under ten hectares in size, there will be a minimum payment of £500 for stage two. The total amount of funding is capped at £30,000 per project.

Richard Corbett, Partner with Roger Parry & Partners, is excited about the future prospect woodland creation could provide farmers. He said, “This December will be the last full payment made to farmers under the Basic Payment Scheme before the scheme is phased out. All new income streams have to be considered and we are currently advising our clients to consider tree planting projects.”

The funding will support the landowner to gather and?analyse?the information that is needed to make sure the proposal takes into account:

  • biodiversity
  • landscape
  • water
  • historic environment
  • local stakeholders

Landowners will also have to develop a UK-Forestry Standard-compliant plan for woodland creation that shows any constraints and opportunities and how these are accounted for.

Richard added, “The application process isn’t a simple one but that should not deter landowners from considering applying as our team of experts are here to help. There is no deadline, as such to apply as you can apply year-round. The Forestry Commission aims to respond to applications within 15 working days. It may take longer if the application includes untrialled tree species or is in a sensitive location. Please get in touch as we can ensure your application is successful.”

If farmers have already applied for Countryside Stewardship, the Woodland Carbon Fund, the HS2 Woodland Fund, or submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) enquiry form to plant a new woodland, they are not eligible to apply for Woodland Creation Planning Grant on that site.