Nicholsons Woodland Grant Update
Landowners across ten counties are being invited to apply for a ground-breaking new scheme from the Woodland Trust. The grant has been pioneered by our own Niel Nicholson, who has spent the last two years developing the new TRUSTwoods scheme with the Woodland Trust, to offer expert advice and generous financial support to landowners who want to create small, new woods. Larger schemes can still be grant aided by the Forestry Commission as before.
Niel, who has been involved with the Trust for 20 years, said of the new scheme, ‘This is the first time that the Woodland Trust have supported the private forestry sector in a new grant scheme and we very much hope that this is the start of positive cooperation.’
Landowners in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire are invited to apply for the first phase of the TRUSTwoods trial. The scheme is looking to create woods of between 1 and 3 hectares, with UK sourced and grown trees eligible for the grant. Up to 10% non-native trees can be included on an unfunded basis.
The new woodland should meet at least one of these criteria:
- Extend existing ancient woodland
- Extend other woodland
- Increase ecological connectivity such as linking hedgerows
- Engage the public; for example, with a new tree planting event
- Increase public access to woodland
- Enhance the ecological, cultural and visual value of the landscape
The drive to increase woodland cover in the UK is outlined in ‘Net Zero: the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming’. Written by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK woodland is currently 13% of our land area (the European average currently sits at 35%). To meet the recommendations, we need to increase our woodland to 17% – which will require planting 30,000 additional hectares annually. In the 2018-19 season, only 13,000 hectares were planted across the UK, and 11,000 of these were in Scotland. The long-term aims of Net Zero look to see an eventual increase to 50,000 hectares per year, which would return a nationwide coverage of 19%.
With targets so far above our current position, it is hoped that grants like TRUSTwoods will maximise the opportunity for woodland by utilising the smaller pockets of land that have, so far, not been eligible for the larger grant schemes.
Successful applicants will receive £1.25 for each native tree planted, up to a maximum of £4,000 per wood. Grants will be paid when TRUSTwoods receives five photos of the planting, a copy of invoices from the contractor and proof that the trees are sourced and grown in the UK.
Those interested in applying must be quick off the mark as planting should take place in the winter of 2019-20. To apply, landowners should commission a Woodland Advisors Group consultant to design and cost the new wood. Having pioneered this scheme from the start, Niel is currently chair of this group, and all Nicholsons Foresters are members and are able to advise and apply for this grant on your behalf. They can also help with all other grants and advice. Please contact our Forestry Team for more information.