A pilot Woodland Trust scheme is offering expert advice and grants of up to £4,000 to landowners who want to create small, new native woods.
TRUSTwoods is open to people looking to create between one and three hectares of woodland in a trial area of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
Director of woodland outreach John Tucker said:
“We need new woodland like never before. Government has recently committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The expansion of the UK’s tree canopy cover from 13% to 17% is an essential part of the solution, but for the country to reach that target we need to see a three-fold increase in current woodland creation levels.
“Locking up carbon isn’t the only reason to plant trees though. The right tree in the right place can improve soil quality and stability, reduce the impact of flooding, provide shelter for crops or livestock, vital habitat for wildlife or a place for us to simply get away from it all.”
To qualify for a TRUSTwoods grant 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; and
- Enhance the ecological, cultural and visual value of the landscape.
The Woodland Trust has appointed the independent Woodland Advisors Group to run TRUSTwoods.
Landowners must commission a Woodland Advisors Group consultant (woodlandadvisorsgroup.co.uk) to design and cost the new wood. These plans should then be uploaded with a map and design of the new woodland, as part of an online application, to woodlandtrust.org.uk/trustwoods.
Applications will be assessed on a first-come, first served basis and the Woodland Trust will notify successful applicants and confirm their grants. Planting should take place in the winter of 2019-20.