A new drive to encourage farmers and landowners across Yorkshire to plant and manage more trees has been launched.
Woodland creation offers a profitable way for farmers and landowners to boost their business as well as deliver environmental benefits, alongside food production. The Forestry Commission and Defra are drawing attention to the attractive grant schemes and free specialist advice available through a new campaign.
The grant schemes will help land managers diversify their business, with the potential to receive a grant of over £10,000 for every hectare of new woodland created. Woodland creation is one of the options that farmers will have as part of England’s new agriculture policy which is being designed in partnership with industry, and which will reward them for the wide range of environmental outcomes they help to deliver alongside being our primary food producers.
Today’s drive follows publication of the England Trees Action Plan last year which committed to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament – to at least 7,000 hectares of trees per year in England. This equates to just 0.08% of the 9.3 million hectares of farmland in England changing to woodland each year by the end of that period.
There are a variety of funding opportunities available to support the creation and management of new and existing woodlands, provided by both Defra, the Forestry Commission, and other woodland creation partnerships across Yorkshire, including, White Rose Forest – the community forest for North and West Yorkshire, HEYwoods – the community forest for Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire and the Northern Forest.
Through the Forestry Commission’s England Woodland Creation Offer, farmers and landowners will be paid to create new woodland on areas as small as one hectare (and that can be made up of smaller plots) – from small scale planting on marginal or unproductive land to large mixed woodlands.
The Offer supports the creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, including: along rivers to improve the water environment; through natural colonisation; for sustainable forestry and where their location and design will provide public benefits including greater access to nature. With this support, converting marginal or unproductive land into new woodland can create additional income streams – without taking good agricultural land out of use. Importantly, they will be able to transfer to an environmental land management scheme without having to repay the current funding, meaning there’s no need to delay planting trees now.
To get involved in the campaign you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and view the campaign site here.