Woodland Grant Schemes

Considering planting some new woodland? You may be eligible for a grant to help fund your project.

Below is a short summary of the main grants available;

Woodland Carbon Fund (WCF)

  • A forestry commission scheme (slightly faster application period) where applications can be made any time.
  • Aimed at creating productive woodland for timber and forestry and also aims to set you up for applying for the Woodland Carbon Code, so you can benefit from selling the carbon sequestered. Note that the Woodland Carbon Guarantee must be applied for before planting (see below).
  • Minimum Area is 10ha with minimum of 5ha blocks with a planting rate of a minimum of 2000 trees/ha with 70% of these being productive trees.
  • Payment of £1.28/tree with the ability to stack on capital options such as tree shelters and rabbit fencing. The total payment is capped at £6,800 unless you’re in a priority area which is then £8,500
  • Continued Funding – A one off payment of £1,000/ha in year 5 to cover ongoing management.

Woodland Creation Grant (WCG)

  • A standalone scheme under the CSS umbrella which can be made at any time ( Note the application takes a minimum of 5 months)
  • The woodland’s purpose is for either biodiversity or water protection
  • Minimum application size of 3 ha, with minimum blocks of 0.5ha and minimum widths of 20m for biodiversity and 1ha, 0.1ha and 10m respectively for water quality/flood protection applications.
  • Payment of £1.28/tree with the ability to stack on capital options such as tree shelters and rabbit fencing. The total payment is capped at £6,800.
  • Planting must be completed within 2 years of the start date, but there can be a 6 month deferral if a planting period is just missed.
  • Continued Funding – You can apply for Woodland Creation Maintenance Payment (WD1) under a separate Higher Tier CSS application which funds £200/ha for 10 years. Also consider the Woodland Management Planning Grant (WMPG) which will fund creating a 10 year woodland management plan which is fully compliant with the UK Forestry Standard

Before starting any grant applications, considering using the below to fund putting the application together.  

Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG)

  • A Forestry Commission Scheme for large scale woodland projects, a minimum of 10ha in 1 block.
  • This grant funds the Stage 1 and Stage 2 application processes, which provide you with all the information to make the grant scheme application for either WCF or WCG.
  • Payment of £1,000 for stage 1 and at stage 2 £150/ha, up to a total maximum grant of £30,000 (including the stage 1 payment)
  • You must apply for this grant before starting any other grant or you will not be eligible.

Woodland Carbon Schemes

Woodland Carbon Code (WCC)

  • Voluntary Scheme which aims to match carbon sequesters and carbon buyers in order to sell verified carbon units.
  • It verifies and continues to validate projects every 5 years to ensure they meet the forestry standards and are sustainably managed. Essentially certifies the carbon units sequestered.
  • No minimum woodland size but must registered within 2 years of planting.
  • Can separately register for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG) which is a government incentive scheme to provide a more stable market place, with the Government underpinning the price of the Carbon Units, in periodic auctions.  The WCaG must be secured prior to actual planting of the woodland.

Things to consider

  • If your project is in a sensitive area or over 2ha you may need to complete an afforestation Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) (completing stage 1 and 2 under WCPG will effectively provide the EIA information)
  • Smaller projects may want to consider tree planting as a part of a Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship application.  
  • The grant may only cover circa 80% of the costs of planting woodland.
  • What are your motivations for planting the woodland and how do you intend to manage it going forwards.