A standalone capital grant offering funding to farmers and other land managers in England to plant and protect young trees. The grant provides a one-off payment towards the cost of supplying and planting trees and associated items needed to create new woodland.
The Countryside Stewardship: Woodland Creation Grant forms part of the Countryside Stewardship programme, which is administered by Natural England, with the support of Defra and the Forestry Commission. The Countryside Stewardship programme derives its funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It will contribute around £900 million over six years to help land managers look after the environment
Countryside Stewardship (CS) provides financial incentives for land managers to look after their environment through activities such as:
Conserving and restoring wildlife habitats.
Flood risk management.
Woodland creation and management.
Reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture.
Keeping the character of the countryside.
Preserving features important to the history of the rural landscape.
Encouraging educational access.
Objectives of Fund
The Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant is a standalone capital grant offering funding to farmers and other land managers in England to plant and protect young trees. The grant provides a one-off payment towards the cost of supplying and planting trees and associated items needed to create new woodland. This is undertaken through a two-year works programme. Subject to eligibility, a supporting maintenance grant for 10 years may also be available.
As well as enhancing the landscape, creating new woodland can support wildlife, reduce flood risk and improve water quality. It can also improve the environment’s resilience to climate change. Planting trees can also be a boost for business: by creating woodland on redundant or unused land, landowners could generate income through sales of timber, wood fuel and commercial shooting.
18 June 2020:
Countryside Stewardship capital woodland applications
The Countryside Stewardship Woodland Management Plan Grant, Woodland Creation Grant and Woodland Tree Health Grant are changing. Any agreements starting after 1 January 2021 will be made under domestic (UK), not EU, regulations. Agreements made under domestic regulations will provide the same payments presently on offer through the current EU scheme. These changes will also have no impact on existing Countryside Stewardship woodland creation, woodland tree health and woodland management planning agreements starting before 1 January 2021.
Potential applicants who want to plant during this winter planting season (2020/21) are now being encouraged to submit their Woodland Creation and Woodland Tree Health applications in good time, allowing at least five months for processing. Those who want to plant before January 2021 must apply before 8 July 2020.
The Woodland Management Planning Grant will not be transitioned until the autumn.
Those wishing to apply under the domestic regulations can apply before 1 January 2021, but the agreement cannot start until after this date. The revised application forms for woodland creation and woodland tree health will be available, on line, from 15 July 2020.
From 1 July 2019, those wishing to make contact in respect of Countryside Stewardship can either call the Customer Service Centre on 03000 200 301 or email: [email protected] and include Countryside Stewardship in the subject line.
Applicants should also use this telephone number or email address they need to make contact about the Basic Payment Scheme or Environmental Stewardship.
The maximum available grant per hectare for a given woodland creation application is £6,800 for capital items covering both planting and protection. This cap will be calculated as an average across the area of the application.
Subject to eligibility, a supporting maintenance grant of £200 per hectare for 10 years may also be available.
Match Funding Restrictions
Match funding is not a stipulated requirement of this programme.
Who Can Apply
Land managers, owners, leaseholders and tenants in England can apply for these grants, as long as the land parcels in their application are under their full control for the length of the agreement period.
Grants under the scheme are open to the following persons or bodies:
Terms and Conditions
Full terms and conditions will be provided upon application.
Land uses that are ineligible for schemes under Countryside Stewardship are listed below:
Land that is already subject to another Rural Development scheme.
Land that is already subject to another obligation which is incompatible with Countryside Stewardship.
Any land parcels entered into the scheme which are not entirely within England. Parcels that are either partly or entirely within Scotland or Wales are not eligible for Countryside Stewardship.
Land where the applicant does not have management control for the length of the agreement and is unable to have an application countersigned by the landowner.
The grant cannot be used to pay for the cost of:
any capital works initiated before the agreement starts;
planning application fees or other transactional fees;
agent fees or other advisory fees;
meeting legal requirements, including planning conditions.
Applicants can select from a range of capital items as part of their woodland creation grant. These apply to one-off payments towards the cost of certain items or activities, eg planting trees or erecting new fencing and each offer different payment rates.
The full list of capital items available for use in woodland creation is below:
Individual tree shelter
Rabbit fencing supplement
Fencing supplement - difficult site
Wooden field gate or wooden wings
Top wiring - stone wall
Small leaky woody dam
Large leaky woody dam
New for 2018
Capital items; FY2: Woodland Infrastructure and BN13: Top Wiring – Stone Walls (which now includes provision for sheep netting), have both been introduced for 2018, offering applicants a wider range of items to include in their application. Improvements to the application form Annex 2 have been made to combine the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) application form into the Woodland Creation Plan and make the overall experience simpler.
How To Apply
The Woodland Creation Grant is open for applications all year round.
All applicants must register themselves on Rural Payments (www.gov.uk/guidance/register-for-rural-payments) before applying for woodland creation. They will receive a customer registration number (CRN) once registered.
Once an initial application has been submitted, a Forestry Commission Woodland Officer will work with the applicant to refine it before the final deadline. This includes a site visit.
The sponsor will process applications as quickly as possible but the advice is that applicants should anticipate it will take at least five months from submitting their application to receiving an agreement.
Useful documents & links
Addresses and contacts
For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:
Block B, Government Buildings
Tel: 03000 200 301
Email: [email protected]