Forestry Commission England - Grants & Licences News

24 July 2017

This month, keep up-to-date on Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation 2018, understand changes to the UK Forestry Standard, complete our survey with your thoughts on our email alert and learn about the update to the EIA regulation. 

Countryside Stewardship 2018

Woodland Creation Grant confirmed for 2018

Forestry Minister Thérèse Coffey confirmed today (Thursday 20 July) that a £13 million fund to help landowners plant more trees to protect wildlife, boost the timber sector and reduce flood risk will soon open for applications.

Farmers, foresters and land managers across the UK will be able to apply for up to £6,800 per hectare to plant, weed and protect more trees when application forms for the next round of the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant are made available in September.

Announcing the next round of funding, Forestry Minister Thérèse Coffey said:
“Our forests and woodlands are vital for providing timber, improving the environment and protecting our wildlife.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to the forestry sector and to biodiversity, which afforestation delivers. I hope to see as many applications as possible so this important industry can continue to thrive.”

We are pleased to be able to offer guidance and application forms from September, to enable you to discuss and work on your plans early with your Woodland Officer, with the submission window opening in January 2018.

The £13 million budget includes both the Capital Woodland Creation Grant and the 10 years of maintenance payments.

Countryside Stewardship for 2017 

How are we doing on 2017 applications?

We are currently working with applicants on 172 applications for woodland creation grants and agreements are now being offered to successful applicants.
We received around 300 applications for Higher Tier Woodland Improvement this year. A  third of these were mixed (woodland and agri-environment items and options) with the rest woodland only. Woodland Officers are now working with applicants to prepare final applications before the 31 August. Woodland only applications will be subject to final scoring in October after which agreements will be offered to successful applicants. These will have a start date of 1 January 2018. If you have an application with us please remember that all supporting evidence must be submitted to Natural England Technical Services by the 30 September.
Applications for grant aid to support the preparation of Woodland Management Plans and work related to Tree Health can be made all year round.

UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)


We wanted to draw your attention to the recently updated version of the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). This is the reference standard for forest management in the UK and sets out the requirements and conditions that must be met when felling trees, carrying out woodland operations or receiving grants.

The Standard enables us to manage our forests in a way that meets our current needs without compromising the ability of our future generations ability to meet their needs.

The fourth edition contains changes to:

  • update relevant legislation and other regulatory requirements;
  • update organisational details and mandates of the forestry authorities;
  • reflect key policy changes arising from the increased devolution of forestry;
  • incorporate recent developments in international agreements, and the way forestry activity is monitored and reported;
  • incorporate recent advances in the scientific understanding of forestry;
  • further strengthen the role of forest planning.

No new regulations or burdens have been introduced by the revised Standard.

Updated EIA regulation published

In December 2016 you may have contributed to the Joint Technical Consultation on Environmental Impact Assessment. Changes to the Environmental Impact Assessment for Forestry Regulations (England and Wales) were implemented on the 16 May 2017 and updated forms and guidance is now available on our website.

The changes implemented mean that EIA Forestry applicants are required to provide more environmental information on the potential impact of their project, and if an impact is expected, to provide information on mitigation or compensatory habitat creation. The applicant will now also need to give evidence of local and statutory stakeholder engagement and advice that informed the project. By submitting well-researched and evidenced proposals for assessment, we are better placed to make timely judgements on any likely environmental impact created by forestry proposals.

To support projects being developed, the Forestry Commission (FC) has identified two million hectares of land in England which has neither designated sensitives nor high value to farming productivity (Low Risk) and in which significant afforestation can be delivered.

The changes to thresholds are described on our website  and Low Risk/Sensitive locations can be viewed on the Forestry Commission Land Information Search and map browsers.

If you need to apply for an EIA please use the guidance and forms on our website on the Applying for an Opinion page and contact your Woodland Officer for support if required.