The UK Government have released grants regarding the creation of woodlands for the benefit of the land, environment, and people to have access to wooded areas for recreation. As science has proven the benefits of trees and woodland areas for the environment, people, and wildlife, these grants were created as an incentive for landowners to plant more trees to enable the Government to meet its Net Zero targets.
Here Sarah Radcliffe, Forestry & Woodland Manager at H&H Land & Estates discusses the schemes and their recent updates:
“The England Woodland Creation Scheme (EWCO) was updated earlier this year and this grant is a significant incentive for landowners and for the forestry sector. In addition to EWCO there are two further grants available as part of the Government plan to increase woodland areas in the UK; The Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) and Woodland Carbon Code (WCC).
As part of EWCO landowners can receive up to £10,000 per hectare to create new woodlands on areas as small as 1 hectare with a minimum block size of 0.1 hectare. Standard costs of planting will also be covered, to be capped at £8,500 per hectare, and the annual maintenance grants have increased to £300 a year, per hectare, for 10 years.
This increase in the maintenance payments is encouraging news for landowners who are looking to plant trees. This extra incentive brings the amount in-line with the grants that were already available in Scotland and will hopefully inspire more people to find potential planting areas.
There are also ‘Additional Contributions’ available per hectare if the tree planting will provide additional benefits . The categories and the additional payments available are as follows:
The Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) is designed to help landowners to plan a woodland that is UK Forestry Standard Compliant (UKFS) and help towards identifying potential opportunities and restrictions of a woodland in your chosen area. There is an initial payment of £1,000 available to complete the stage one checklist, if there is potential then you will be invited into stage two where up to £150 per hectare can be received, minus the stage one payment and you can also get 70% contribution towards any additional specialist surveys that you agree need to be undertaken. The funding for this is capped at £30,000 per project, with a minimum payment of £500 if the project is under 10 hectares. It should be noted that the minimum size for this grant is 5 hectares, with minimum block sizes of 0.5 hectares.
Lastly, we have the Woodland Carbon Code which is a voluntary carbon standard for UK woodland creation projects. The code generates independently verified carbon units and is backed by the government and internationally recognised for its high standards of sustainable forest management. A new native woodland can capture 400 -500 tonnes of CO2 (tCO2e/ha) over 100 years which is why they are so vital globally for reducing the levels of carbon in the atmosphere. The carbon from your woodland can be sold in the form of Woodland Carbon Units and recently buyers have been receiving £5 - £15/tCO2e for carbon units captured and verified by the WCC. There is no minimum size and there is a streamlined process for woods of less than 5 hectares.
The payments available for these schemes is good news for people looking to create woodland areas, and I would advise anyone who has land they think might be good for a woodland to investigate the schemes.”