Detailed guide: Create woodland: overview

Forestry Commission

November 5
15:48 2019

If you plan to create woodland in England you can get advice and grant aid from the Forestry Commission. Youll need to know how your woodland will be regulated and monitored. You may be eligible for a grant to create woodland.

To see the full range of grant and incentive schemes available for woodland creation, maintenance, management and tree health, see our woodland grants and incentives overview table (PDF, 350KB, 2 pages). You can see at a glance which schemes you might like to explore in more detail. This is a starting point and further information can be found in the information below, by following the links within the table or by speaking to your local Forestry Commission Woodland Officer.

Woodland creation funding and grants

You may be eligible for funding and grants to create woodland.

There are 3 major funding schemes available for woodland creation in England (plus funding for carbon sequestration and urban tree planting):

Woodland creation funding to improve biodiversity and water quality

Countryside Stewardship scheme funding is available from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). The Woodland Creation Grant (WCG) element of Countryside Stewardship supports you where your woodland will help one or more of the following:

  • local biodiversity (priority habitats and priority species)
  • water objectives (to improve water quality or help reduce flood risk)
  • climate change mitigation or adaptation

You can apply for capital funding to establish new woodland, including planting trees and installing tree guards, fencing and gates. You could receive up to 80% of the standard costs for these items and a contribution of 40% of the cost of roads and tracks needed to support the woodlands establishment (including agent fees and VAT, where applicable). Payments are capped at an average 6,800 per hectare across the area for planting and protection (not including forest roads and tracks).

Find out if youre eligible for Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant and how to apply.

Funding to plan and design a new woodland

The Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) provides funding to help cover the costs of producing a UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) compliant woodland creation design plan, which can support applications to other funding sources for woodland creation, such as the Woodland Carbon Fund.

This grant contributes to the costs of gathering and analysing information needed to make sure that your proposal for productive multi-purpose woodland (over 10 hectares) considers impacts on:

  • biodiversity
  • landscape
  • water
  • the historic environment
  • local stakeholders

The grant also:

  • ensures the tree species you want to plant are productive today and in the future to mitigate climate change
  • helps to meet timber productivity thresholds in England

You can apply for up to 150 per hectare, capped at 30,000 per project.

Find out if youre eligible for the Woodland Creation Planning Grant and how to apply.

Funding for woodland creation to support carbon storage

The Woodland Carbon Fund supports the planting of productive, multi-purpose woodlands to store carbon. It also provides opportunities to work in partnership on landscape scale projects and open up public access to woodland and increase environmental benefits.

The scheme offers capital funding for the creation of new woodland. This includes the planting of trees and costs of protection items including tree guards, fencing and gates. You can also get funding for the installation of forest roads and recreational infrastructure.

A one-off capital payment of 1,000 per hectare is available in year 5 following successful establishment of the trees.

Find out if youre eligible for the Woodland Carbon Fund and how to apply.

Earn extra income from selling carbon

If your project is not cost-effective with a woodland creation grant alone, you might be able to earn further income by selling carbon credits from your project. To do this you need to register with the Woodland Carbon Code within 2 years from the start of planting. Validation/verification to this standard provides assurance of the carbon savings and access to the voluntary carbon market.

Read an overview on: The Woodland Carbon Code leaflet (PDF, 630KB, 3 pages) Find out more about the Woodland Carbon Code scheme for buyers and landowners.

Woodland creation design plans

You need to carefully design new woodlands to fit within the landscape and accommodate features of interest. Find out more about the forest design process in the UK Forestry Standard and practice guide on Design techniques for forest management planning.

You need to develop a written plan supported by a:

  • site context map
  • site appraisal plan
  • design concept plan
  • final woodland creation design plan

To develop these documents you can apply for the Woodland Creation Planning Grant.

Funding for urban tree planting

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) provides funding to support the planting and establishment of large and small trees in urban and peri-urban areas in England. The fund is competitive and targeted at projects that can provide the greatest environmental, social and economic benefits in our towns and cities.

The fund offers up to 50% of published standard costs to support the planting and establishment of urban and peri-urban trees. The UTCF is a challenge fund, which means applicants are required to provide at least 50% match funding from other sources, which can be in the form of money or labour.

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund is open for block bids and closes at midnight on 28 July 2019. Expressions of Interest (EOI) for individual applications can also be submitted in this window.

The UTCF is open for block bids in year one of the fund. Block bids are applications with a value of at least 500,000, which contain multiple smaller projects that may be geographically dispersed across England or focused in a single area. In year 2 of the fund, we will be accepting individual applications. Individual applications will be much smaller, single planting projects.

Find out if youre eligible for the Urban Tree Challenge Fund and how to apply.

Tax planning

To preserve and protect national heritage including woodland for the benefit of the public, the government introduced the Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme. Find out if you might get relief from Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax because you own a woodland.

Case studies

At Cherryrock Farm (PDF, 456KB, 2 pages) Mr Howes, a farmer from Bristol, worked in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust to improve biodiversity and enhance wildlife on his land through tree planting.

In this second case study, Common Farm (

Related Articles


  1. We don't have any comments for this article yet. Why not join in and start a discussion.

Write a Comment

Your name:
Your email:

Post my comment

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Share This

Enjoyed this? Why not share it with others if you've found it useful by using one of the tools below: