Farmers, foresters and landowners are being encouraged to plan ahead for the next round of funding for woodland creation, which opens for applications in just two months.
From Tuesday 2nd January, landowners can apply for up to £6,800 per hectare to plant and protect more trees under the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant – a scheme to help landowners make the most of their land and reap the benefits of woodland creation.
Not only do woodlands help to protect wildlife, improve water quality and manage flood risk, they also offer landowners an alternative source of income, help to boost timber production, and bring economic growth to rural areas.
Richard Greenhous, Forest Services Director for the Forestry Commission, said: “By investing in tree planting now, landowners can both benefit financially and help to secure a brighter future for our environment.
“I would encourage landowners to talk to their local Woodland Officer and start planning now before the scheme opens for applications to be submitted in January.
“We have made guidance available much earlier this year and brought in a number of improvements to the scheme – and our Forestry Commission teams are on hand to provide advice and support throughout the process.”
The Woodland Creation Grant is open to all land managers, and successful applicants will receive a two-year capital grant, alongside an opportunity to apply for annual maintenance payments for ten years.
Guidance and application forms for the scheme were made available in September to give potential applicants more time to develop their plans, and a number of improvements have been made this year to make it easier to apply.
Applicants can contact the Forestry Commission for further advice and assistance.
Alongside the Woodland Creation Grant, landowners can also apply for the Woodland Creation Planning Grant to help with planning and proposals, as well as the Woodland Carbon Fund – a scheme designed to encourage large-scale planting and reduce carbon footprint.
The Forestry Commission has appointed a new team of specialised forestry creation officers to assist landowners through the application process for large scale projects.