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 up to £10,200 per hectare, plus up to a further £8,000 in Additional Contributions for public benefits, 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

Apply by 30 June to secure agreement offers for the following planting season.

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) 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 5 years of annual maintenance payments will be paid automatically. You will then need to claim again in years 6 and 11 for the following two 5-year periods of annual payments.

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 within an existing grant agreement that has more than 5 months left to run at the time the EWCO application is submitted (if the land or part of it is in either an Environmental Stewardship or Countryside 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.

Woodland Creation Fast Track

If your proposal is within a low sensitivity area for woodland creation your application may be eligible for the Woodland Creation Fast Track. Check this before submitting your application.

Full eligibility criteria

For full eligibility criteria, see the England Woodland Creation Offer grant manual on our application form page.

Implementing the Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot

The pilot of our biosecure procurement requirement means that applicants eligible for funding under EWCO (and other funds in the pilot), need to source their trees from suppliers who are either certified under the Plant Healthy Certification Scheme (or have applied to become certified) or who have passed a Ready to Plant assessment provided by Fera Science Ltd. This requirement helps to combat the threats posed by pests and diseases, as well as strengthening our biosecurity and serving our long-term vision for our trees and woodlands. Find information and support on how to comply in our guide: Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot for Plants and Trees

Contact your Woodland Creation Team

If you are considering making an application to EWCO, we recommend that you contact your local Woodland Creation team as early as possible. They can provide guidance and answer any initial questions about woodland creation. They 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 5 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.

How it works

There are 4 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)
  • 15 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, 1.06 MB, 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.

Compatibility of EWCO payments

Land managers frequently ask whether they can access other sources of ecosystem services payments alongside EWCO payments for delivering environmental outcomes from woodland creation. In response to this, we’ve published an operations note to clarify the rules on the compatibility of EWCO payments, and payments for ecosystem services from other sources. This consists of 5 rules that will hopefully answer queries you may have about blending finance. View the operations note: Rules for combining England Woodland Creation Offer payments for woodland creation with other sources of payment for ecosystems services: operations note 62 .If you have any further queries, please send enquiries to EWCO@forestrycommission.gov.uk or speak to your local Woodland Officer.

Extra income from selling carbon

The EWCO Application Form 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.

England Woodland Creation Offer transition into Countryside Stewardship

EWCO will become part of the Countryside Stewardship scheme – one of the new environmental land management (ELM) schemes – from 2025. The future design of Countryside Stewardship scheme and the approach to payment rates for planting trees will largely mirror those within EWCO – meaning there is no reason to delay tree planting. We expect existing EWCO agreement holders will have the opportunity to transition their maintenance payments into the Countryside Stewardship scheme from 2026. This continues the government’s pledge that no-one will be made worse off if they start planting now, rather than waiting for future government schemes.

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 22 May 2021
Last updated 29 February 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added a note that applications should be made by 30 June to secure agreement offers for the following planting season and added information about the Woodland Creation Fast Track.

  2. Updated to reflect that the EWCO Capital Funding Period has been extended from 2 years to 3 years and the Annual Maintenance Payments extended from 10 to 15 years.

  3. Update to enquiries email address to: EWCO@forestrycommission.gov.uk

  4. Addition of new guide for: Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot for Plants and Trees.

  5. Updated: creating new woodland: the England Woodland Creation Offer leaflet

  6. Paragraph added about England Woodland Creation Offer transition into Local Nature Recovery scheme in 2025.

  7. Added new section: Implementing the Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot and Compatibility of EWCO payments; EWCO Grant Manual update.

  8. EWCO video added to the page.

  9. Updated EWCO leaflet to include the updated maintenance payment rate.

  10. Information about the EWCO points threshold added.

  11. Added an updated EWCO information leaflet.

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

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

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

  15. First published.