Woodland creation funding of £19m opens for applications

The government yesterday launched a woodland creation fund to boost the rate of woodland creation in England and so meet its carbon emission targets.

The Woodland Carbon Fund offers up to £6,800 per hectare to create new woodland, or up to £8,500/ha for sites near towns where public access is provided - but must be for large-scale (over 30ha), "multi-purpose but predominantly productive" woodland.

Applicants are urged to "seek opportunities to improve public access and achieve wider environmental outcomes in line with the UK Forestry Standard", according to the Forestry Commision, which is implementing the scheme.

Further "discretionary" funding is available towards the installation of "infrastructure to support recreation", such as footpaths. Proposals to create short-rotation forestry or coppice, or for planting of fast-growing species for energy are not eligible. Land can be under multiple and even local authority ownership.

Forestry industry body Confor, which last month urged the government to fund such a scheme, has welcomed the move. Its chief executive Stuart Goodall said: "This fund will target the planting of forests over 30ha, the scale needed to make a new forest viable for producing future supplies of wood, as well as delivering the wide range of environmental benefits that modern forests provide."

See www.forestry.gov.uk/england-wcf.

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