Farmers and landowners were today urged to apply for a share of £25 million in funding to support woodland creation and tree planting.
The money is available in the year ahead after it was announced the England Woodland Creation Offer will become part of the Local Nature Recovery scheme – one of the new environmental land management schemes – from 2025.
Landowners and farmers could get a one-off payment of £8,500 per hectare followed by annual maintenance payments of £300 per hectare for 10 years. Higher payment rates are also available which offers thousands more for schemes that provide additional public benefits.
Going forward, the future design of Local Nature Recovery and the approach to payment rates for planting trees will largely mirror those within the England Woodland Creation Offer – meaning there is no reason to delay tree planting.
Well-designed and managed woodlands can support the foundations of food production. Woodlands on farms can boost productivity through healthy soil and water by reducing erosion and nutrient loss from surface run-off whilst improving drought and flood resilience. Woodlands also support biodiverse ecosystems through habitat creation and can benefit animal welfare by providing shelter in adverse weather and provide additional fodder for livestock, as well as diversification opportunities through firewood and timber.
Richard Stanford, the Forestry Commission’s Chief Executive, said:
Farmers and land managers can now have the confidence to grow trees under EWCO, safe in the knowledge that they will be able to easily transition into the Local Nature Recovery scheme in the future, and without the worry that future schemes will be significantly different.
Trees play an important role in providing shade and shelter for livestock, and reducing soil and nutrient loss. Given the recent hot dry weather it’s vital our farmers and land managers plan for the future to build in resilience to climate change and take advantage of the woodland creation incentives available today.
The majority of new applications for woodland creation payments from 2025 will be made through the Local Nature Recovery scheme.
We expect existing England Woodland Creation Offer agreement holders will have the opportunity to transition their maintenance payments into the Local Nature Recovery scheme from 2026. This continues the government’s pledge that no one will be made worse off if they start planting now, rather than waiting for future government schemes.