Farmers urged to apply for new woodland grant

Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant has opened for applications
Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant has opened for applications

Farmers and landowners can now apply for up to £6,800 per hectare to create new woodland on their property for financial and environmental benefits.

Applicants can now apply for the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant – a scheme to help farmers and landowners reap the benefits of woodland creation.

The grant is open to all qualifying land managers. Successful applicants will receive a two-year capital grant of up to £6,800 per hectare, as well as an opportunity to apply for annual maintenance payments for ten years.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said planting trees is one of the best ways landowners can invest in the British environment for future generations.

"They provide a haven for wildlife, reduce flood risk and improve water quality – making them some of our most cherished assets," Ms Coffey said.

"I have seen first-hand how planting trees can really make a difference at places such as the Lowther Estate in Cumbria, so I would urge landowners to apply to this scheme.

Alternative income

Aside from the environmental benefits, planting trees on land can offer an alternative source of income for farmers.

Alongside the Woodland Creation Grant, landowners can also apply for the Woodland Creation Planning Grant to help with planning and proposals.

This grant has already supported two large-scale planting schemes in England this autumn: Doddington North Moor in Northumberland and the Lowther Estate in Cumbria.

Mr Hugh Davis, the owner of Treworder Barton Farm in Cornwall, has received funding from the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant to plant a new productive woodland that enables him to quickly produce a crop of timber for wood markets.

The grant has covered 80 per cent of the planting costs with an ongoing payment of £200 per hectare for the next 10 years.

Speaking about his application, Mr Davis said: "Planting is relatively straight forward. For the first two years, you need to keep weeds under control and protect young trees from other threats, for example pests, frost or drought. Once they are established, looking after the trees is relatively low maintenance.

"The thing with forestry is that you can’t play catch up. You need to plan ahead and invest sooner rather than later. I’m very pleased I’ve done it."