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19 January 2017
Encouragement for Woodland Creation Planning Grant funding to aid scheme design
Forestry Minister Thérèse Coffey welcomed the new Woodland Carbon Fund scheme at the Forestry Forum back in October 2016. The Forestry Commission, via Defra, has been allocated £19.2 million from the Spending Review 2015 Capital Allocation to help with the acceleration of tree planting in the UK.
The new scheme supports multipurpose woodlands over 30 ha in size, envisaging opportunities to work in partnership at a landscape scale. Outcomes are expected to improve public access to woodland and achieve wider environmental outcomes such as; contributing to future carbon budgets and maximizing natural capital benefits through provision of community access. Additionally, the scheme hopes to act as a pathfinder for large-scale, woodland creation and encourage a partnership approach to landscape-scale projects.
The Woodland Carbon Fund is not a part of the Countryside Stewardship grant funding system. Instead, the scheme will sit alongside the grant support available via Countryside Stewardship and the recently re-opened Woodland Creation Planning Grant. Ranging between £6,800 and £8,500 per hectare depending upon location. Highest rates are available for spaces surrounding urban locations, referred to in the scheme as ‘Peri-Urban’ areas or if permissive access is provided to the public on foot. Additional support via funding is available for the provision of a new infrastructure; footpaths to support recreation for example.
Eligibility for access to the scheme put simply, is limited to privately owned land and land in the ownership of Local Authorities. Success is reliant upon the following criteria:
- 30ha or more of land to be planted with up to 20% of open space in the final design and a minimum block size of 10 ha
- Land may be in multiple ownership as long as the applicant has the landowner’s written permission to support the application
- The development of the land is to create a predominantly productive woodland with a species split not less than 70% of broadleaves/pine/ other conifers
- Minimum planting of 2000 stems per hectare on a net area basis
- Possession of a UKFS compliant Woodland Creation Design Plan and clearance to plant under Environmental Impact Assessment
Grant applications will be submitted to the scheme administrator. Assessment by a panel consisting of representatives from the Forestry Commission, Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency will then follow.
The application must be supplemented with a completed Woodland Creation Planning Grant Stage 1 checklist and supporting documentation, a draft or completed UKFS-compliant Woodland Creation Design Plan. Neither of these is necessary, however, if the Forestry Commission England has given an Environmental Impact Assessment screening decision that the proposal does not require an EIA.
At King West, we are able to assist and support at any stage of the application process from advisory to complete application management arrangements. If you are interested in finding out more or require support at any level with your application, in the first instance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.