Round two of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund is open
31 March 2020
Second round of £10million fund opens today to plant more trees in cities and towns through small scale projects
From Forestry Commission:
We are delighted to open round two of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, which is for community and volunteer groups, town councils and individuals to apply for a share of the £10million pot to increase tree numbers in urban areas through small scale planting projects. You can read more about it in our press release.
Launched in May 2019, the Urban Tree Challenge Fund aims to support the planting of more than 130,000 trees across England’s towns and cities. This announcement of round two opening follows the success of round one, which saw thirteen large scale projects from local authorities and large organisations awarded grants to plant more than 50,000 trees in urban areas. Due to the success of large tree planting in round one, round two will open for small tree planting only.
Planting more trees improves health and wellbeing, connects people with the outdoors, absorbs noise, reduces flood risk, reduces temperatures through shading, and creates green spaces to help communities come together. Successful applicants of round two will start planting trees in the next planting season (winter 2020/21).
Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith, said:
“Our immediate priority is rightly our response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. But, although these are unprecedented times, we want to continue to uphold the nations commitment to the environment.
“We have made sure that the applications for round two of the Urban Challenge Tree Fund can be completed online so individuals are not putting themselves at risk, and I encourage anyone thinking of applying to do so in a safe way, using digital platforms to plan their application with colleagues if necessary.
“Our manifesto sets our ambition to have every new street lined with trees – and I am dedicated to working closely with the Forestry Commission to help make this vision a reality.”
For round two, applications for single planting projects of between 150 and 5,000 small trees are invited, with applications that contain 500 or more trees especially encouraged. Grants will fund the planting of trees and the first three years of their care to ensure they can flourish into the future. The grant will be delivered as a challenge fund, and therefore requires 50% match funding from those who apply, through either money or labour.
In round two of the fund, an application can contain up to three planting sites. Planting sites cannot exceed half a hectare and must contain a minimum of 150 and a maximum of 5,000 small trees per site. An applicant can submit up to a total of five applications.
Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley, said:
“The value of trees in urban areas cannot be underestimated. They provide homes for birds and other wildlife, offer shade and natural cooling effects, help to reduce flood risk, and provide huge benefits for our health and wellbeing.
“I’ve already visited several successful projects from round one, from the Mersey Forest to Manchester City of Trees, and have seen first-hand the great work that has been achieved so far through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. The reopening of the fund will build on the success of round one, and will add to the 50,000 urban trees already awarded.
“Community tree planting is a great passion of mine, and I greatly encourage local volunteer groups and individuals to apply.”
The scheme will support projects which can provide the greatest environmental and social benefits. A map will be available to check eligibility before applying.
How to apply
The application window for round two will close on 31 May 2020. Find out more information on how to apply to the Urban Tree Challenge Fund
If you have any queries about the fund, please contact: UTCF@forestrycommission.gov.uk
As the situation around COVID-19 is rapidly changing, we appreciate the uncertainty this creates. We are continuing to open round two of the UTCF on 30 March 2020 as planned, but we ask that you bear with us
if we need to reassess this in the future. As round two is partly targeted at community and volunteer groups, we ask you adhere to government guidelines and do not meet in person to discuss your application. Application forms are available online and we suggest are discussed by your group virtually. The successful applicants of round two will not be expected to plant their trees until the next tree planting season (winter 2020/21), and it is our hope that COVID-19 will not impact on tree planting activity. However, due to the group nature of this activity we will reassess this in the future to follow government guidelines.