Woodland Grant available for land 1ha and above opens in England on first-come, first-served basis

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Leading property and land consultancy Berrys are encouraging landowners, farmers and tenants in England to take advantage of a new woodland creation grant that offers enhanced payment rates for planting the right tree in the right place.

The England Wood Creation Offer (EWCO), which opened for applications on 9 June, replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund and is one of a suite of Forestry Commission initiatives to support woodland creation and tree planting across England.

EWCO is a criteria-based, competitive scheme, with funding offered on a first-come, first-served basis. There is £15.9m available in the first year, with the scheme providing enhanced payments rates to landowners.

The grant is administered by the Forestry Commission and is funded through the Nature for Climate Fund. It will support woodland creation in areas as small as 1 hectare (ha).

Commenting on the EWCO, Berrys Chartered Surveyor Vicky Price said: “This is one of the first grants that support woodland creation in an area as small as 1ha, so there is likely to be a lot of interest. Therefore, it is important farmers, landowners and land managers speak to their local Forestry Commission Woodland Officer as early as possible as the grant is on a first-come, first-served basis.

“For those with five hectares or more, it is also worth applying to the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) before EWCO as the WCPG contributes towards the costs of designing new woodland and will offer you access to expert advice from the Forestry Commission early on in the process,” she said.

However, those applying to the EWCO on land currently in an Environmental (ES) or Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreement will need to be prepared to repay all or part of the payments made under their ES or CS agreement, warned Ms Price.

The EWCO can cover 100% of eligible standard capital costs of woodland creation, meaning costs are covered for buying and planting the trees, and then maintaining them for 10 years. Additional financial contributions are available for well-designed woodland that provide public and wider environmental benefits.

There are four types of payments available under EWCO:

• Support for the capital items and activities to established new woodland through standard costs.

• 10 years of annual Maintenance Payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete.

• Contribution towards the actual cost of installing infrastructure to either enable the current and future management of the woodland, or to provide recreational access.

• Optional Additional Contributions where the location of the woodland and its design will deliver. You can apply for multiple Additional Contributions on the same land.

Farmers obtaining the EWCO will still be allowed to make the most of green finance opportunities. This means they will be allowed to register their planting under the Woodland Carbon Code wherever eligible, to allow the future sale of high-quality woodland carbon credits to private buyers.

For more information on maximising income from your land, speak to Berrys Chartered Surveyor Vicky Price on 07789 986904 or emailing vicky.price@berrys.uk.com.

More information on the EWCO can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/england-woodland-creation-offer-application-form

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