Guidance

England Woodland Creation Offer

Get support to create woodland using the England Woodland Creation Offer.

Applies to England

Landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply to the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) for support to create new woodland, including through natural colonisation, on areas as small as one hectare. You could receive over £10,000 per hectare to support your woodland creation scheme.

EWCO is one of a suite of Forestry Commission initiatives to support woodland creation and tree planting across England. See our Tree planting and woodland creation: overview page for details of our other current funding opportunities.

To hear from landowners who have already completed successful woodland creation projects on their land, see our Woodland creation case studies page.

How to apply for EWCO step by step

To apply for a grant under EWCO you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Find out if you are eligible by talking to your Woodland Creation Officer and decide if you want to apply for a Woodland Creation Planning Grant to help you design your new woodland

  2. You must register with Rural Payments to get Single Business Identifier (SBI) and Customer Reference Number (CRN) before you can apply. You will also need to register your land before we can offer you a grant agreement. We recommend you start this process as soon as possible

  3. Make an application using the guidance on our forms page. Always check this page to make sure you are working to the latest guidance and application forms

  4. Once your agreement is approved and you have completed the work, claim for your payment

  5. The first five years of annual maintenance payments will be paid automatically. You will then need to claim again for payments in years six to ten

Find out if you are eligible

EWCO is open to owner occupiers, tenants, landlords and licensors who have full management control of the land in the application (if you don’t have full management control you will need consent from those who do). Joint applications, multiple land managers and applications on common land and areas of shared grazing are eligible.

Land is eligible if it is:

  • in England
  • within the full management control of the applicant (or, where applicable, any counter-signatories)
  • not already classified as woodland
  • not subject to any existing legal requirement or obligation to create woodland
  • not subject to a dispute between landlords and tenants
  • not currently within an existing grant agreement that has more than five months left to run at the time the EWCO application is submitted (if the land or part of it is in an Environmental Stewardship agreement it may be possible to transfer the land into EWCO as long as certain conditions are met)

EWCO is a criteria-based competitive scheme. We will offer Agreements to applicants with woodland creation proposals whose scores meet or exceed a threshold score. The threshold score is currently ten points.

Full eligibility criteria

For full eligibility criteria, see the England Wood Creation Offer grant manual.

Contact your Woodland Creation Officer

If you are considering making an application to EWCO, we recommend that you contact your local Woodland Creation Officer (WCO) as early as possible. They can provide guidance and answer any initial questions about woodland creation. WCOs can also provide further assistance if you choose to apply for a Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) to develop plans for your new woodland.

We recommend that you consider applying for a Woodland Creation Planning Grant prior to EWCO if your proposal will be five hectares or more in size. A WCPG contributes towards the costs of designing your new woodland and offers you access to expert advice from the Forestry Commission early in the process of designing your woodland. A WCO can provide guidance on the benefits of WCPG to help you decide.

Find out more about the Woodland Creation Planning Grant.

How it works

There are four types of payment available under EWCO:

  • support for the capital items and activities to establish new woodland, with payments covering 100% of standard costs (the national average)
  • ten years of annual Maintenance Payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete
  • a contribution towards the actual cost of installing infrastructure to either enable the current and future management of the woodland, or to provide recreational access
  • optional Additional Contributions where the location of the woodland and its design will deliver public benefits. You can apply for multiple Additional Contributions on the same land where the woodland is in the right location and the design will provide multiple public benefits

For more information read our leaflet, creating new woodland: the England Woodland Creation Offer (PDF, 941 KB, 4 pages).

Additional Contributions

Additional Contributions are optional and will be available where the woodland’s location and design will deliver public benefits. These are one-off payments that can be claimed once all the capital works are completed. Where appropriate, Additional Contributions can be combined so you can apply for multiple on the same land.

Additional Contributions include:

  • Nature Recovery – up to £2,800 per hectare for woodlands that restore nature and species
  • Flood Risk – £500 per hectare for woodlands that help reduce the risk of flooding
  • Water Quality - £400 per hectare for woodlands that will improve water quality
  • Riparian Buffers - £1,600 per hectare for woodlands along riverbanks that improve water habitat
  • Close to settlements – up to £500 per hectare for creating woodlands close to where people live
  • Recreational Access – up to £2,200 per hectare for providing access to woodlands for the public to enjoy

You can check the location of your proposed new woodland in relation to where woodland creation can deliver the benefits that justify Additional Contributions on the Forestry Commission map browser and Land Information Search.

Extra income from selling carbon

The EWCO Application Form (Part B) gathers together the information you need to register with the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) if you want to access private funding for ‘Woodland Carbon Units’ and apply to the Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG).

The WCC is the quality assurance standard for woodland creation projects in the UK and generates independently verified Woodland Carbon Units. From 1 July 2020, projects must be registered with the WCC before they are planted.

The WCaG offers successful auction bidders the opportunity to access guaranteed government payments for Woodland Carbon Units captured by your project at an agreed price.

Appeals

You can appeal against a Forestry Commission decision. 

Contact the Forestry Commission

Contact the EWCO team for more information EWCO@forestrycommission.gov.uk

Published 18 May 2021
Last updated 9 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Information about the EWCO points threshold added.

  2. Added an updated EWCO information leaflet.

  3. Page revised to make guidance and application process clearer for applicants.

  4. Additional information on registering on Rural Payments before completing an application.

  5. Updating guide to include links to the application form and more details about the grant.

  6. First published.