Funding boost for national woodland creation programme

England’s Community Forests have welcomed news of funding for year three of the national Trees for Climate programme, which is playing a major part in increasing access to nature for communities across England.

The funding will see new woodland planted across the country, with England’s 13 Community Forests aiming to plant around 1,433 hectares (ha) of trees – or around 2,007 football pitches – across England, thanks to over £34 million of funding announced for year three of the Trees for Climate programme.

The funding will help to provide grants that cover up to 100 per cent of the costs for tree planting and 15 years of maintenance payments, to ensure that any planting continues to deliver long term value for the landowner.

Community Forest teams are available to support landowners with funding applications and provide free, no obligation advice to people or organisations considering tree planting, whether you have a small pocket of unused land on your property or are a farmer with several hectares of land who is looking to diversify income streams.

Funding boost for national woodland creation programme
Planting a tree at a site in Cheshire

Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest and Chair of England’s Community Forests, said: “This latest round of funding will allow us to establish even more woodlands that will benefit local communities across the country.

“Over the past two years, England’s Community Forests have worked closely with DEFRA, Forestry Commission, Natural England and over 70 local authorities and a huge range of landowners to establish more than 1000 hectares of new woodland. We are looking forward to continuing this joint endeavour and helping the country to reach its net zero goal.”

Collectively around 2,300 hectares of trees – equivalent to around 3,220 football pitches – will be planted as part of this year’s total funding allocation from the Nature for Climate Fund of £44.2 million. The funding will benefit 13 Community Forests, as well as the National Forest, Northern Forest, Northumberland Forest, the Forest for Cornwall and Woodlands for Water. These projects will expand woodlands near our cities, towns, villages and rivers – giving more people greater access to nature and improving health and wellbeing as well as playing an important role in Government ambitions to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament and reach net zero.

Large, small, well-designed and diverse woodlands created thanks to this funding will be more resilient to climate change, as well as natural hazards such as wildfire and storms – playing an important role in helping us adapt to a warmer world. They will help to reduce flood risk in vulnerable areas, provide sustainable UK grown timber and provide more places for nature and biodiversity to thrive.

Sir William Worsley, Forestry Commission Chair, said:  “The social, environmental and economic benefits of being in woodlands are well-documented, helping local communities to be happier, healthier and more pleasant places to live.

“It is a personal mission of mine to make sure as many people as possible get to experience these benefits. This funding will ensure we plant trees in areas close to where people live, as well as providing job opportunities in new woodland creation through planting, establishing and managing trees.”

Any landowners, farmers or organisations who would like to explore tree planting on their land can contact their local Community Forest through the England Community Forest website.