Thinking of planting woodland on your land? Rural Surveyor Jack Denning-James details England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO).
DEFRA has launched the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) to assist farmers with woodland planting of areas of at least 1 hectare. It takes over from the Woodland Carbon Fund which closed in March and is seen as the next step on the road to the full offer of environmental land management schemes coming in the future. Agreement holders will be able to break that EWCO agreement at agreed points without penalty once a place in those schemes has been secured. Administered by the Forestry Commission and funded from the Nature for Climate Fund applications opened last week.
The main priorities are to:
· Combat climate change by creating new woodlands that store carbon
· Contribute to nature recovery
· Improve water quality and reduce flood risk
· Creating woodlands close to people and improving recreational access
· Encouraging ammonia capture to protect vulnerable sites
The grant is intended to cover standard capital costs for tree planting (up to a per hectare cap of £8,500), annual maintenance payments of £200 per hectare for 10 years and payment for the provision of public and environmental benefits. It is compatible with continuing to claim Basic Payment provided the land meets certain eligibility criteria.
Further funding available for:
· Nature and species recovery – between £1,100/ha and £2,800/ha available where woodland creation will help woodland-dependent priority species to recover
· Tree planting near watercourses and rivers – £1,600/ha available where the creating riparian buffers of native broadleaved woodland would improve river habitats
· Reduced flood risk - £500/ha available where woodland creation can help reduce the risk of flooding
· Improved public access - £2,200/ha available where woodland creation will provide long-term permissive access for the public to enjoy
· Planting close to settlements - £500/ha available where woodland creation will provide social and environmental benefits by being close to people
· Improved water quality - £400/ha available for woodlands that clean our water by reducing pollutants through land use change by intercepting pollution and sediment before it reaches watercourses
· Capital items paid at a standard rate reducing the need to get quotes for approval like previous schemes
For successful applicants, the grant could comprise the following four elements:
· Support for the capital items and activities to establish new woodland.
· Annual Maintenance Payments for 10 years to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete.
· Contributions (full costs in the case of infrastructure for recreation) towards the actual costs of installing infrastructure to either enable the establishment and future management of the woodland, or to provide or improve recreational access.
· Optional Additional Contributions where the design of the woodland and its location will deliver specific public benefits.
Contact Jack Denning-James on 01380 710535 for further details.