England Woodland Creation Offer to transition under new scheme from 2025
9 August 2022
Over £25m is available as continued funding in 2022/23 to support well-designed woodland creation proposals through the Offer, which will become part of the Local Nature Recovery scheme in due course.
The England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) will be transitioned into the Local Nature Recovery scheme – the successor to the Countryside Stewardship scheme – from 2025.
Landowners and farmers are urged to still apply for a share of the £25 million fund available in 2022/23, as the approach to payment rates for planting trees under Local Nature Recovery will largely mirror those offered by the EWCO.
Richard Stanford, the Forestry Commission’s Chief Executive, said: "Farmers and land managers can now have the confidence to grow trees under EWCO, safe in the knowledge that they will be able to easily transition into the Local Nature Recovery scheme in the future, and without the worry that future schemes will be significantly different.
"Trees play an important role in providing shade and shelter for livestock, and reducing soil and nutrient loss. Given the recent hot dry weather it’s vital our farmers and land managers plan for the future to build in resilience to climate change and take advantage of the woodland creation incentives available today."
Existing England Woodland Creation Offer agreement holders are expected to have the opportunity to transition their maintenance payments into the Local Nature Recovery scheme from 2026. This continues the government’s pledge that no one will be made worse off if they start planting now, rather than waiting for future government schemes.
Local Nature Recovery will pay for locally-targeted actions to make space for nature in farmed landscapes and the wider countryside, for example on parts of farms that are not suitable for food production, are less productive, or are difficult to work with.
Woodlands on farms can boost productivity through healthy soil and water by reducing erosion and nutrient loss from surface run-off whilst improving drought and flood resilience. Well-designed and managed woodlands also support biodiverse ecosystems through habitat creation.
Trees on farms can benefit animal welfare by providing additional fodder and shelter for livestock in adverse weather, as well as offering diversification opportunities through firewood and timber production.