England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO)

England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO)

England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) opened for applications on 9 June 2021 and replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund, which closed for applications in March 2021.

The grant is administered by the Forestry Commission and is funded through the Nature for Climate Fund. Landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply to the EWCO for support to create new woodland.

What type of activities are supported by EWCO?

EWCO provides support for woodland establishment, via planting and via natural colonisation, through payments towards the capital items and activities required to create new woodland.

What does EWCO provide in terms of payments and grants?

1. Capital and Annual Maintenance Payments

EWCO includes 10 years of annual Maintenance Payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete. This grant may be an attractive option for establishing new farm woodlands with capital grants up to £8,500/ha. and annual payments of £200/ha. for 10 years

2. Minimum planting areas

And although not designed as an agroforestry grant (there will be a Phase 2 with hopefully more agroforestry measures), some of the options such as minimum planting area of 0.1 hectare (subject to >1.0 ha. in total) and a minimum width of 20 metres, except for riparian buffers [1] and shelterbelts [2], where the minimum width is 10 metres, may support some agroforestry systems. As will the lower stocking of broadleaves at 400 trees per hectare being permitted in exceptional circumstances, where this will support nature recovery.

3. 'Novel' species

In addition, up to 15% of any planting may be ‘novel’ species (e.g. fruit and nut yielding trees) and natural colonisation - on areas of land within 75 metres of a viable seed source of at least two tree species may also be grant aided.

4. Continued payments, but with consequences ...

Finally, the fact that eligible land under EWCO can be used to continue claiming Basic Payment Scheme payments (BPS) is helpful, but less helpful is the requirement that agricultural activity must cease and the restrictive rules around land already in a Countryside Stewardship (CS) or Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement.

  1. Riparian buffers are strips of trees and shrubs along a riverbank, protecting it from the impact of adjacent farming activity.
  2. Shelterbelts are strips of trees or large shrubs that act as a windbreak.

Find out more

To find out more, see the UK Government's information on the England Woodland Creation Offer.