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Detailed guide: HS2 Woodland Fund

Forestry Commission

February 4
10:52 2020

You can apply for funding to support native woodland creation or the restoration of Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) within a 25-mile zone surrounding the HS2 route - currently in Phase One, from London to the West Midlands.

See the HS2WF map (PDF, 239KB, 1 page)

The HS2 Woodland Fund (HS2WF) opened on a first come, first served basis in February 2018, with an initial budget of 1 million. A further 4 million budget is now available to be allocated to projects until 2022/23.

The fund is open year round, but applications are assessed 4 times per year. View the assessment deadlines for 2020 - 2021.

The highest scoring applications in each quarter will be provisionally allocated funding and assigned a Forestry Commission Woodland Officer. Expressions of Interest are no longer being accepted.

Find out more about why the funding is available in the HS2 Woodland Fund leaflet. (PDF, 4.28MB, 4 pages)

Case study

At Avon Wood, Mr Harding, a landowner from Warwickshire, applied to the HS2 Woodland Fund when the fund originally opened in January 2018. After finding out that his application had been successful, planting started in November 2018. Read about Mr Hardings experiences of applying to the HS2 Woodland Fund, and creating a new woodland (PDF, 307KB, 2 pages)

Watch the video below to hear from Mr. Harding, the forestry agent who supported him, and the Forestry Commission Woodland Officer who progressed the application:

hear from Mr. Harding, the forestry agent who supported him, and the Forestry Commission Woodland Officer who progressed the application on our YouTube channel.

Find out if youre eligible

Your land should be inside the 25-mile zone surrounding the HS2 Phase One route. If your land falls just outside this zone but you make a proposal of outstanding quality, you may be considered for funding at the discretion of the Forestry Commission and the HS2 Woodland Fund Review Panel.

You cant enter into an HS2 Woodland Fund (HS2WF) agreement if the land in your application is under an Environmental Stewardship or Countryside Stewardship agreement.

We may accept an application where you can provide written evidence that you have contacted the relevant grant administrator about an amendment or early closure to remove land within the HS2WF proposal from an existing grant agreement, and that you are aware of all potential penalties or reclaims that may be incurred.

In these cases, we may make an in principle agreement offer once your Woodland Officer has carried out all checks and consultation, and your proposal has been finalised. We do not recommend triggering an amendment or early closure process in relation to the existing agreement until you have received such an offer from us.

Your land must be free of existing grant agreements before any final HS2 Woodland Fund agreement offer is made. If you are in any doubt or require further clarification, email hs2woodlandfund@forestrycommission.gov.uk.

The Forestry Commission is not responsible for any delays to the issuing of a final agreement due to the amendment or early closure of existing grant agreements, nor for the decisions made by other grant administrators in relation to existing grant agreements.

You cant apply to HS2WF if your proposal is subject to a current or recently withdrawn application for woodland funding through Countryside Stewardship or the Woodland Carbon Fund.

If you are applying for support to restore plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS), you must have a Woodland Management Plan approved in principle by the Forestry Commission, and no grant offer will be made until a Woodland Management Plan and all associated Felling Licences have been formally approved by the Forestry Commission.

Thresholds criteria

You must meet the following criteria to create new woodland and/or restore PAWS through the HS2 Woodland Fund.

Thresholds Creation PAWS
Minimum application size Connecting or extending existing ancient or ancient semi-natural woodland: minimum application area 1ha, minimum block size 0.1ha. Standalone woodland: minimum application area 5ha, minimum block size 5ha. Minimum width (either connecting/expanding or standalone): 20 metres. Minimum application of 0.5ha. Minimum felling coupe size 0.1ha.
Maximum application size Connecting or extending existing ancient or ancient semi-natural woodland: maximum application area 25ha. Standalone woodland: maximum application area 25ha. No Maximum application area. 0.1 - 2ha for individual felling coupes.
Stocking densities stems per ha (sph) 1600 - 2500 1100 - 2500 (where theres existing natural native broadleaf regeneration, you must plant to enrich this and reach the stocking density range).
Species mix: see the application annex for a list of funded trees and shrubs, and a list of unfunded shrubs that you may include but will not be funded. A selection of native trees and shrubs: up to 20% honorary broadleaves, up to 20% woody shrubs, no single species to be more than 70%. A selection of native trees and shrubs: honorary native species may - where honorary broadleaves are present on site make up a maximum of either 20% of the planting mix or the percentage of honorary natives present at the time of felling (whichever is lower). No single species to be more than 70% of the restock area.
Species selection Use the Ecological Site Classification Tool to inform species selection based on the medium to high climate change projections up to 2080. You can get support from a Forestry Commission woodland officer. Use the Ecological Site Classification Tool to inform species selection based on the medium to high climate change projections up to 2080. You can get support from a Forestry Commission woodland officer.

See the full UKFS publication.

How it works

Youll receive a total payment based on the range of funded capital items that you put into your application, up to a specified cap. For native woodland creation, the total capital payment is capped at 8,500 per (gross) hectare of planting - this does not apply to any woodland creation maintenance payments. For PAWS restoration, the total amount for tree planting costs is capped at 4,000 per (net) hectare of restocking, but the cap does not apply to capital items (such as fencing) over and above tree planting. For both application types, the relevant cap does not include leaky woody dams - these can be included over and above the cap.

Youll also get a 10-year maintenance payment for woodland creation at 200 per hectare per annum. This is paid in 2 instalments at years 5 and 10 of the agreement period. If youre applying on behalf of the state or local authorities you cant apply for maintenance payments.

You can watch the HS2 Woodland Fund customer webinar below:

Watch the HS2 Woodland Fund customer webinar

You must have a signed agreement in place before you start work. Read the HS2 Woodland Fund: terms and conditions (

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