England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO)

A new woodland creation grant scheme from the Forestry Commission has opened, with increased grant rates and easier accessibility to encourage significantly increased new planting over the next few years.

The new grants are much more lucrative than previous Countryside Stewardship and FC woodland creation grants.  For a new native woodland planting project in target areas, rates can be more than £12,000 per ha which is more than double previous grant payments.

The focus of the new grants is very much native woodland planting and public access, and these attract the larger supplementary grants.  However, significant increases in standard costs support all types of woodland planting and grants rates for productive conifer planting are in the region of £7,000 per ha, generating good surpluses after all costs.

The government has allocated £15.8M to support the EWCO scheme in 2021/22 as well as offering grants through Countryside Stewardship. However, with the high rates of payments available this funding won’t last long, and grants are allocated on a first come first served basis.

Example capital grant rates can be viewed in the table below.

Capital ItemsPayment Rate
Tree Planting£1.60/tree
Tree Shelters Other Than Spiral Guards£2.00/tree
Mulch Mats£1.79/tree
Post & Sheep Net Fence£6.13/m
Deer Fence£9.00/m
Chemical Bracken Control£212/ha

There are also capital grants for infrastructure (e.g. roads) at 40% of agreed actual costs for items to aid management of the wood, and at 100% for public access infrastructure.

One-off ‘Additional Contributions for public benefits’ are also available, e.g.

  • £2,800/ha for woodland in a ‘higher spatial priority area’
  • £400/ha for ‘water quality’ in catchments with moderate or poor water quality
  • £1,600/ha for ‘Riparian buffers’

Annual maintenance payment                   £200/ha/year for 10 years

Areas that currently qualify for Basic Payment Scheme payments will remain eligible for those payments as well.

Applications are competitive but the current stated pass mark is only 10 points to be considered.  There is no set deadline for submission.

The minimum area to be planted in any application is 1.0 ha, with the minimum block size being 0.1 ha, and the minimum width 20m wide.

The planted area could be registered for the Woodland Carbon Code, so could potentially result in more financial return. 

For more information or an initial appraisal of any potential planting projects, please contact:

North-East EnglandPatrick Playfair07917 080353 or 01289 304432
North-West EnglandDave Atkinson07443 111295 or 01228 548385