Landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply to the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO). The scheme provides support to create new woodland, including through natural colonisation.
The EWCO is one of a suite of Forestry Commission initiatives to support woodland creation and tree planting across England. It is open to owner occupiers, tenants, landlords and licensors who have full management control of the land in the application. Joint applications, multiple land managers, and applications on common land or areas of shared grazing are also eligible.
The minimum area that can be applied for is 1 hectare – the smallest area for any woodland scheme. What’s more, this area can be made up of multiple blocks as small as just 0.1 ha. Such flexibility is likely to make the scheme attractive to a greater number of potential applicants.
If you have plans for 5 ha or more, it’s recommended that you apply for a Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) before EWCO. This is because the WCPG will help towards the cost of designing new woodland. It will also provide you with access to expert advice from the Forestry Commission.
Payments under the England Woodland Creation Offer
There are four types of payments available:
- Support for the capital items and activities to establish new woodland, with payments covering 100% of standard costs
- Ten years of annual Maintenance Payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete
- A contribution towards the cost of installing infrastructure to either enable the current and future management of the woodland, or to provide recreational access
- One-off Additional Contributions payments where the location of the woodland and its design will deliver public benefits (see below)
Additional detail about Additional Contributions
Additional Contributions payments are only made if the woodland is in the right location and its design provides one of the public benefits shown below. The payments are only made once – but if your scheme delivers more than one of the following you can receive a payment for each benefit.
- Nature recovery: for woodlands that restore nature and species
- Flood risk: for woodlands that help reduce the risk of flooding
- Water quality: for woodlands that will improve water quality
- Riparian buffers: for woodlands along riverbanks that improve water habitat
- Close to settlements: for creating woodlands close to where people live
- Recreational access: for providing access to woodlands for the public to enjoy
Extra income from selling carbon
The application process for EWCO also serves to gather the information you need to register with the Woodland Carbon Code.
This is relevant if you are interested in accessing private funding for Woodland Carbon Units, applying to the Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG), and potentially gaining guaranteed government payments for the Woodland Carbon Units captured by your project.
Struggling to see the wood for the trees?
With so much on offer but so many elements to consider, it’s critical to ensure your proposal and application are properly considered. Remember that you must meet or exceed the current 10-point threshold score to progress.
Professional and practical advice from AssetSphere could therefore make all the difference. We help landowners and land managers with all kinds of grants. We can guide you through the process, or we can manage the application on your behalf. Doing this can maximise the chance of success (and minimise the hassle and headache of doing it yourself).