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 1 hectare. 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.

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

Case studies

Case Study: 800 Wood, Cambridge (PDF, 1.96MB, 4 pages) is a great example of how woodland can be used to boost biodiversity and benefit the local community, and demonstrates how natural colonisation can be used alongside tree planting.

If you’re interested in diversifying your business, read the Case Study: Elslack Estate, North Yorkshire (PDF, 1.04MB, 3 pages) which shows how woodland can increase land value and generate income for the landowner, whilst also providing environmental benefits such as habitat creation and natural flood management.

In Case Study: Howard’s Wood, Dorset (PDF, 927KB, 2 pages) landowners have created a woodland for wildlife and the community.

Watch our video to find out how landowners are planting for the future at Little Harle Estate in Northumberland, they have planted 12,000 trees along the River Wansbeck.

In another video case study, owner of Monkridge Hill Farm tells us about his 100 hectare woodland creation project and the benefits that tree planting on his land has brought.

We also have a leaflet on Creating new woodland under the England Woodland Creation Offer (PDF, 1.31MB, 4 pages).

Find out if you’re eligible

EWCO is open to owner occupiers, tenants, landlords and licensors who have full management control of the land in the application (or consent from those who do). On tenanted land, for example, both tenants and landlords must confirm their consent and sign the application. Joint applications 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 (and any counter-signatories, where applicable)
  • 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 (see How do I transition my woodland creation scheme into the England Woodland Creation Offer for more information).

The minimum total size of woodland included in a EWCO application is 1 hectare. All woodland blocks within a EWCO application must be 0.1 hectare or more in size. Blocks must have a minimum width of 20 metres (except for riparian buffers and shelterbelts, where the minimum width is 10 metres).

If you are applying to (or have an existing agreement under) the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) to support the costs of designing your woodland creation proposal, you can only apply to EWCO once the Forestry Commission has made you a WCPG Stage 2 offer.

All proposals funded by EWCO must comply with the UK Forestry Standard.

How it works

There are four types of payments available under EWCO:

  • support for the capital items and activities to establish new woodland, at 100% of standard costs
  • 10 years of annual Maintenance Payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete
  • 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 it touches the right spatial layer and the design is compatible

You can check the location of your proposed new woodland in relation to these layers on the Forestry Commission map browser and Land Information Search.

EWCO is a criteria-based, competitive scheme, with funding offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Points are available for a range of positive impacts, including:

  • climate change resilience
  • using private finance to support woodland creation
  • nature recovery
  • improved water quality
  • planting riparian buffers
  • flood risk prevention
  • social benefits, such as providing public access
  • ammonia capture

You will need to score your own application before you submit it to the Forestry Commission and, for it to be progressed, it will need to meet or exceed the minimum threshold score at the time you submit.

The current minimum threshold score for an eligible EWCO application is 10 points. This score is reviewed quarterly.

Once you have agreed your final application with your Forestry Commission Woodland Officer, we will give it a final score – this must meet or exceed the score that applied when you submitted your initial application to us.

Basic Payment Scheme

Eligible land under EWCO can also be used to claim payments via the Basic Payment Scheme. Read our guidance on woodland grant schemes and BPS: operations note 42 for more information.

How to apply

You can apply year-round. The Forestry Commission aims to acknowledge your application and let you know if there is information missing from it within three working days. It may take longer during peak periods.

Funding decisions can take 12 to 20 weeks from receiving a valid application. Timescales are likely to be shorter where applicants have already completed an approved Woodland Creation Design Plan through the Woodland Creation Planning Grant.

We recommend that you contact your Forestry Commission Woodland Officer as early as possible.

You will also need to register on Rural Payments before you can apply to EWCO. This will provide you with Single Business Identifier (SBI) which we need to process your application (you do not need to be a business to register). You must also have registered your land on Rural Payments before we can offer you a EWCO Agreement. To enable this, we advise applicants to register their land either before making an application or at the same time as an EWCO application is made.

We also recommend that you consider applying to the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) prior to EWCO if your proposal will be five hectares or more in size. 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.

To apply to EWCO, you will need to complete and submit:

  • a EWCO Application Form Part A
  • a EWCO Application Form Part B
  • an Application Map showing the location of your proposal and capital items.
  • any quotes or supporting documents, if you are applying for contributions towards infrastructure works
  • where applicable, a EWCO Common Land and Supplementary Grazing Form
  • where applicable, one EWCO Natural Colonisation Initial Site Assessment Form for each application area in which natural colonisation will be the method of establishing trees

Submit an application

Use the England Woodland Creation Offer application forms and associated guidance to complete your application.

On this page you will find the grant manual and appendices, plus all the application forms and terms and conditions.

Return them by email to: EWCO@forestrycommission.gov.uk

If you can’t apply by email, send paper copies to:

England Woodland Creation Offer – EWCO
Forestry Commission  
National Office, England  
620 Bristol Business Park  
Coldharbour Lane  
Bristol
BS16 1EJ  

If you decide to appoint an agent to apply for funding on your behalf then you must complete a Forestry Commission agent authority form to give your consent. 

Extra income from selling carbon

The EWCO Application Form Part B supports registration with the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) to access private funding for ‘Woodland Carbon Units’. It can also support you in applying 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 21 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Additional information on registering on Rural Payments before completing an application.

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

  3. First published.