10 June 2021

Trees are at the forefront of the Government’s plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The recently announced England Trees Action Plan, supported by an intended £500m from the Nature for Climate Fund, is a once in a generation plan to help achieve this vision. We will see an unprecedented number of trees planted, protected and managed to deliver more for society, nature, the climate and the economy.

We have launched the England Woodland Creation Offer scheme (EWCO) providing greater flexibility and recognition of the benefits woodland can provide for people and wildlife by offering additional incentives to ensure the right tree is planted in the right place for the right reason.

With £15.9 million available in its first year, this new flagship grant scheme supports the creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, while providing greater financial incentives for landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees.

The grant will cover standard capital costs for tree planting (up to a per hectare cap of £8,500) and annual maintenance payments of £200 per hectare for 10 years, as well as rewarding farmers and landowners for providing public and wider environmental benefits.

Additional contributions will be available for:

  • nature and species recovery – between £1,100/ha and £2,800/ha available where woodland creation will help woodland-dependent priority species to recover;
  • tree planting near watercourses and rivers (riparian buffers) – £1,600/ha available where the creation of native broadleaved woodland along water courses will improve river habitats;
  • reduced flood risk – £500/ha available where woodland creation can help reduce the risk of flooding;
  • improved public access – £2,200/ha available where woodland creation will provide long-term permissive access for the public to enjoy;
  • planting close to settlements – £500/ha available where woodland creation will provide social and environmental benefits by being close to people;
  • improved water quality – £400/ha available for woodlands that clean our water by reducing pollutants through land use change by intercepting pollution and sediment before it reaches watercourses.

After 2024, EWCO will lead into our new future environmental schemes. As set out in the government’s Agricultural Transition Plan, the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery Schemes will provide support for publicly funded woodland creation. EWCO agreement holders will be able to break their EWCO agreement at agreed points without penalty once they have secured a place in these schemes.

EWCO agreement holders can continue to claim Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) payments on land in a EWCO agreement, provided the land meets certain eligibility requirements.

If you have an existing woodland creation agreement or have recently applied for another scheme, and would like to consider switching to EWCO, you can find more about your options here.

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