Farmers urged to apply for woodland creation grant

The total amount of funding is capped at £30,000 per project
The total amount of funding is capped at £30,000 per project

Farmers are being encouraged to apply to the Forestry Commission for support to design new woodlands under the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG).

Farmers and Landowners in England can apply for £1,000 to complete stage one of the Woodland Creation Design Plan Template.

This is a desk-based exercise to identify the constraints and opportunities that may affect the proposed planting.

If there is potential for woodland creation to take place on the site, then farmers will be offered a stage two payment.

At this stage, farmers can get £150 per hectare, minus the £1,000 offered at stage one, to complete stage two of the Woodland Creation Design Plan Template.

Landowners may get supplementary payments for specialist survey work if a need for them is identified at stage one.

If the application is under ten hectares in size, there will be a minimum payment of £500 for stage two.

The total amount of funding is capped at £30,000 per project.

Richard Corbett, partner with Roger Parry & Partners, said he was excited about the future prospect woodland creation could provide farmers.

He said: “This December will be the last full payment made to farmers under the Basic Payment Scheme before the scheme is phased out.

"All new income streams have to be considered and we are currently advising our clients to consider tree planting projects.”

The funding will support farmers to gather and analyse the information that is needed to make sure the proposal takes into account biodiversity, landscape, water, historic environment and local stakeholders.

Farmers will also have to develop a UK-Forestry Standard-compliant plan for woodland creation that shows any constraints and opportunities and how these are accounted for.

Mr Corbett added: “The application process isn’t a simple one but that should not deter landowners from considering applying as our team of experts are here to help.

"There is no deadline, as such to apply as you can apply year-round. The Forestry Commission aims to respond to applications within 15 working days.

"It may take longer if the application includes untrialled tree species or is in a sensitive location.”