The 2017 Woodland Creation Grant available under the Countryside Stewardship scheme will open on the 3rd January.
This is a standalone grant that will provide funding to supply, plant, weed and protect young trees, with a maximum payment of £6800/ha.
An initial application must be submitted by the 1st March. This will give enough time for a Forestry Commission Woodland Officer to conduct a site visit and make any adjustments before the 31st May.
The minimum agreement area is 3ha with a minimum block size of 0.5 ha that must be at least 20m in width. The minimum area is reduced to 1ha for agreements that will act as part of measures to improve water quality or reduce flooding.
There is also the option to apply for a maintenance grant to help with the upkeep of the new woodland of £200/ha/yr for up to 10 years.
Although this land can’t be used for any agricultural activity (including grazing) for 5 years after the final payment of the grant, the landowner can continue to claim Basic Payment Scheme payments on the land until the end of the maintenance grant.
For help and guidance please contact your local FWAG Advisor.
WOODLAND CARBON FUND
The woodland carbon fund is also available for the creation of large woodlands over 30ha in size, it is not part of Countryside Stewardship. Woodlands have to have a minimum block size of 10ha and can include joint applications from groups of landowners. The scheme is targeting the creation of productive woodlands and where possible the provision of permissive access. Grant rates are up to £8,500/ha if permissive access is provided. Information on the Woodland Carbon Fund is available from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-wcf. There is an additional grant for large woodland creation projects to access the Woodland Creation Planning Grant.
UK WOODLAND CARBON CODE
The Woodland Carbon Code is a voluntary standard for woodland creation of any size that allows landowners to sell carbon to companies looking to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility, it does not contribute to offsetting their omissions. The code provides landowners creating new woodlands an important additional income to support the woodland until it starts producing timber products. Information on the code and how it could help support the creation of new woodland can be found at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/carboncode