Woodland Grants

Woodland Carbon Fund

Today we have opened a new grant that will allow millions more trees to be planted across the country helping to meet future carbon targets. More details and application forms are available on our website www.forestry.gov.uk/england-wcf.

What is it?

Maximum grants available will range between £6,800 and £8,500 per hectare depending on its location, with the higher rate available where there is an access need and permissive access is granted. Discretionary footpath access payments will also be available. 

Eligibility criteria and terms and conditions are available on our website.

The Woodland Carbon Fund is not part of Countryside Stewardship grant funding but sits alongside the grant support available via Countryside Stewardship and the recently re-opened Woodland Creation Planning Grant


How do I apply?

It's a simple process, so visit our website to check your eligibility and complete the application form.

Send your completed application form to the scheme administrator at: wcf@forestry.gsi.gov.uk, it will be assessed be a panel consisting of representatives from Forestry Commission, Defra, Natural England and Environment Agency, who will evaluate applications that meet the criteria and agree funding. 

The form must be supplemented with either:
  1. A completed Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) Stage 1 Checklist and supporting documents, including at least one map showing the constraints that apply to the creation of woodland at the site.
  2. A draft or completed UKFS-compliant Woodland Creation Design Plan.
  3. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening decision from Forestry Commission England that the proposal does not require an EIA, or you have obtained consent in the event an EIA was needed. 
In the case of 1 and 2, the panel will provide an 'in principle' decision within 3 months of the application being submitted as to whether funding will be made available, subject to the preparation of a UKFS-compliant Woodland Creation Design Plan and subsequent EIA clearance or consent. In the case of 3, a direct decision on funding for the proposal will be communicated to the applicant within three months. 


Where can I get more information?

We are updating the Land Information Search to show the peri-urban areas (those areas surrounding urban areas) that allow the higher rate of grant, there is a map available on our website to show these.

All other information is on our dedicated webpage: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-wcf. If you have any further questions about the Woodland Carbon Fund please contact your local Woodland Officer


Countryside Stewardship: Woodland Capital Grants 2015 —Open for Business The Forestry Commission is now open for applications for Woodland Capital Grants 2015 (previously referred to as the preliminary woodland grant offer) to plant and manage new woodlands in England as part of the Government’s new £900m Countryside Stewardship scheme. Countryside Stewardship will help rural businesses improve the countryside environment and the Woodland Capital Grants in 2015 will prioritise support for activity this year to cover:  Creating and maintaining new woodland for biodiversity and water benefits including flooding;  Woodland management plans; and  Tree health Ian Gambles, Forestry Commission Director England said: “I am delighted these important grants are now available to landowners and their Agents, many of whom have already been talking to us and are keen to apply. Creating new woodlands and better managing those we already have remains a top priority for us and the sector. There is a strong emphasis on improving and protecting the environment, for example looking closely at where new woodlands can help reduce the effects of flooding, as well as planning the future management of woods to ensure they are good for people, nature and the economy. ” If you are considering applying for any of the available 2015 grants please be advised that you must register on the new Rural Payments system at www.gov.uk/rural-payments as soon as possible. If you have any problems with registering then please contact the Rural Payments Agency on 03000200301. If you are an agent then you will also need to register on the new system in order to help your clients claim rural payments. A webinar has been put together which you can view to give you more information on how to register, although please be aware that this will only be available for a short period of time from today. Some grants will require a site visit before applications can be accepted, and as the window to apply is relatively short we would urge anyone who is interested to get online to gov.uk as soon as possible to access the guidance available. After reading the guidance potential applicants should consider speaking to the Woodland Officer at their local Area office as soon as possible to understand the scoring system for Woodland Creation and arrange a site visit before final application.


For woodland owners in the

East Devon area

The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is offering some free sessions in March on grants advice and support to the farm and woodland sector in this area; we are hoping to run around 6 sessions in total around the AONB. We are looking for one or two people to host a session with a woodland focus - around their kitchen table or similar - and who are happy for 6-8 other woodland owners to attend, either their own neighbours or others who have contacted us. If the host is happy to provide the tea and coffee, I bring the cake! 

I will give an overview of some of the grants that will become available during the coming year, including BPS, Countryside Stewardship, Countryside Productivity, LEADER and also covering some of the private sector grants.  I will also talk about likely priorities for grants for water, woodland and hedge management, most of which are tied into the grants above in the future. As well as the presentation, there will be plenty of time to ask questions and discuss your own ideas or projects - if you want to - or opportunities for working together. I can also signpost to other sources of help that may be useful.
If you would be interested in either hosting or attending such an event, please contact me.  

With many thanks, 
Kate Tobin  --- kate.tobin@outlook.com

Grants and opportunities in forestry: East Devon


Public Sector


Basic Payment Scheme: Helpline: 03000 200 301: Open now

If you are going to apply for grants from the Rural Payments Agency, you must register online and get a Customer Registration Number. You visit the webpage (https://www.gov.uk/claim-rural-payments) and register online. You can check personal and business details and give permissionsonline but your land mapping and application must now be done on paper.


Countryside Productivity Scheme: 9 March – 30 June 2015

Small grants: £2,500 - £35,000, Large grants: £35,000 - £1,000,000

The intervention rate is 40%, which means the minimum total cost of a project would be £6,250. Application forms and process are online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-a-forestry-grant 

Intended to enhance forestry potential or add value to forestry products. Farmers, foresters or rural businesses can apply but not public sector organisations. If you are a woodland owner, it will help your application if you have a woodland management plan in place. 

Quick summary:  There are quite tight criteria for most of the items, so it's important to look at the detail in the link above. Items can be bought secondhand as long as they are still of high design and safety standards.Examples of items that might be eligible are:

•         winches, wood chippers, firewood processors, saw mills

•         timber processors, forwarders, forest harvesters, skidders, tractor-mounted forestry grabs

•         wood chippers and chip-screening equipment for biomass processing

•         log decks, racks, conveyors, lifters and bagging shoots

•         Trailers and cranes specifically designed for timber extraction.

There is also a list of smaller items which can be bolted on to an application for the items above.The following equipment is not eligible for funding:personal protective clothing, chainsaws, standard or small scale tractors, all-terrain vehicles, tipping trailers, flat bed trailers, box trailers, andwood-fired boilers



Countryside Stewardship Scheme: Open in July 2015

This grant is aimed at improving environmental management. It will be targeted at 30% of farmed land area, rather than 70% as previously. Facilitation grantopen now – 17 March to 13 May 2015

For organisations to support farmers and foresters into Stewardship schemes.

Contact: Natural England; CSFacilitationFund@naturalengland.org.uk

Small Capital Grants open now

•         Water – CSF business as usual: 2 Mar – 30 April

Contact: Bryn Thomas, Natural England: 0300 060 0705 Bryn.W.Thomas@naturalengland.org.uk

•                     Woodland Capital:

•         Management plans: 3ha minimum:17 Feb – 30 June  £1000 min

•         Plant Health: SPH notice only: 17 Feb – 30 June

•         Woodland creation: 17 Feb – 30 April (£6800/ha max)

•                     Hedgerows and boundaries capital grant starts 2016 - £5000 per applicant if you don’t have a current ES agreement.

FC has “woodlands into management” priority areas

Contact Chris Gibbard, Forestry Commission: 07468 700672 chris.gibbard@forestry.gsi.gov.uk


LEADER: Making it Local: open July 2015

Covers East Devon and Blackdown Hills. Innovative local ideas leading to economic, environmental and social benefits. Job creation push this programme

Contact: Heather Hillman, Devon County Council: 01392 383000 makingitlocal@devon.gov.uk

East Devon AONB: Pete Youngman 01404 46663

Blackdown Hills AONB: Linda Bennett 01823 680681


Private Sector


Woodland Trust:More Woods scheme

Contact: Woodland Creation Team: 0845 293 5689

60% of costs for a minimum of 0.5ha of native woodland. Up to 250m of native planting in hedgerows, where it connects woodland blocks. Covers whips, guards, canes, not fencing and banking.


Ninevah Trust: http://www.ninevehtrust.org.uk

The study and appreciation of forms of agricultural practice or land management that would encourage the preservation of the countryside.


Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution: Vocational training grants

Help working farmers, spouses or next generation to diversify to create a second income from employment off the farm. 

Contact: 0300 303 7373 grants@rabi.org.uk  

Forestry Innovation Fund: Woodland Creation Planning Grant


If you are thinking of planting a productive woodland over 30ha in size, there is a lot of planning and groundwork to do. The cost and complexity of this work can be a major barrier to getting started, so the grant has been amended this year to provide more support to applicants to produce high quality plans. Last year 10 sites in England were awarded the grant, ranging from 33ha to 339ha and totalling 1064ha of potential new woodland.

The Woodland Creation Planning Grant contributes towards the costs of gathering and analysing information to assess impacts on biodiversity, landscape, water, the historic environment and local stakeholders. It leads to production of a UK Forestry Standard compliant plan for creating the woodland that shows how constraints and opportunities have been taken in to account.

Payments vary depending on the size of the woodland and the complexity of the planning needed and total payments are capped at £30,000. Native and non-native tree species can both be included in the woodland plan, as long as 70% of the planting is productive species that will be used for timber or other wood products. The grant does not have a closing date at present, but this may change subject to demand.


This grant is administered by Defra and does not sit within Countryside Stewardship. Once the plan is completed, owners may choose to apply for woodland creation grant under CS or make use of the Woodland Carbon Code to support some of their costs in establishing the woodland.


For full details visit: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-fif and talk to your local FC woodland officer. If you are unsure who this is, please email me with your address and I can let you know.


For smaller planting sites, you can look at the following sources of information and support:

  • Talk to your local woodland officer in preparation for 2017 woodland creation grants under CS
  • Woodland Carbon Code - a scheme to bring landowners and potential investors together. 200 WCC woodlands already established. Link takes you to leaflet; lots more info on the FC website.
  • Woodland Trust – various schemes to support planting on farmland and for schools and community groups.


With best wishes,