Farmers and landowners in England are now encouraged to apply for a share of £25 million in funding to support woodland creation and tree planting. The money is available in the year ahead after it was announced the England Woodland Creation Offer will become part of the Local Nature Recovery scheme – one of the new environmental land management schemes – from 2025.
Landowners and farmers could get a one-off payment of £8,500 per hectare followed by annual maintenance payments of £300 per hectare for 10 years. Higher payment rates are also available which offers thousands more for schemes that provide additional public benefits.
Going forward, the future design of Local Nature Recovery and the approach to payment rates for planting trees will largely mirror those within the England Woodland Creation Offer – meaning there is no reason to delay tree planting. Well-designed and managed woodlands can support the foundations of food production. Woodlands on farms can boost productivity through healthy soil and water by reducing erosion and nutrient loss from surface run-off whilst improving drought and flood resilience. Woodlands also support biodiverse ecosystems through habitat creation and can benefit animal welfare by providing shelter in adverse weather and provide additional fodder for livestock, as well as diversification opportunities through firewood and timber.
These measures should not be at the expense of equally important priorities and targets under the Environment Act, so the CLA is calling on the Government to maintain a separate funding stream for trees.
The majority of new applications for woodland creation payments from 2025 will be made through the Local Nature Recovery scheme. It is expected that the England Woodland Creation Offer agreement holders will have the opportunity to transition their maintenance payments into the Local Nature Recovery scheme from 2026. This continues the government’s pledge that no one will be made worse off if they start planting now, rather than waiting for future government schemes.
Commenting on the continuation of the scheme, CLA President, Mark Tufnell, said: “The CLA is pleased to learn that the England Woodland Creation Offer will continue under the Local Nature Recovery scheme as part of Environmental Land Management. Moving this initiative to be incorporated into ELM seems to be the sensible approach. It will, however, be vital that the scheme receives the proper funding required to be effective. As the £500m Nature for Climate allocation for trees recognises, the costs of planting and management on the scale the Government is seeking will require sustained resources, especially when cumulative management costs are considered."
In closing, Mark stated that: “These measures should not be at the expense of equally important priorities and targets under the Environment Act, so the CLA is calling on the Government to maintain a separate funding stream for trees.”
Read the CLA response to the UK Government Green Paper on Nature Recovery here.