Tackling Trees – Opportunities with the Woodland Creation Grant & the Woodland Trust

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The importance of trees has been a current topic in the media. With the sad loss of around 4.6 million acres destroyed by fires in the Amazon Rainforest since the start of 2019, the planets ‘lung capacity’ for storage of carbon dioxide and the release of oxygen has significantly reduced. If you are a landowner with as little as 0.5 hectares to spare, you may be able to help. There are obvious benefits of trees for the wider public and farming community – carbon sequestration, water quality, protection of soils, shelter for livestock and landscape diversity. However, there are also valuable business benefits if tree planting is entered on a commercial scale by not only providing income diversity but also succession benefits for holding trading assets (see article from the 10th August). Of course, management of another knowledge specific enterprise may be a concern – where to plant? How to plant? What form of pest protection to use? What about disease prevention? The Rural Payments Agency offer a Woodland Creation Scheme to financially support your venture. Provided your application is successful, capital item payments are granted to cover the costs of trees and infrastructure. To be eligible for this scheme, you must be proposing to plant a minimum of 3 hectares. After successful creation of woodland under the Woodland Creation Scheme, there is opportunity to then enter into the 10-year Woodland Creation Maintenance Plan for annual payments of £200 per hectare in return for management and maintenance. Should you wish to offer less than 3 hectares but still wish to support the establishment of UK woodland, the Woodland Trust are offering a grant for woodland creations over 0.5 hectares under the Northern Forest Project. If your application is confirmed, they will cover up to 85% of the costs associated with establishment and provide maintenance guidance. Furthermore, if you find yourself out of Northern territory, there is a grant to cover up to 75% of your costs incurred. If you think you may be interested in establishing a woodland scheme, please contact a member of our rural team on 01423 860322 for application support and guidance.