The government launched the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) in June this year, but recently updated their guidance. The update is a reminder to potential applicants that EWCO Agreements are offered on a competitive basis. This means your proposal must meet or exceed a threshold score to be in with a chance of acceptance.

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