Fast-track applications for woodland creation

Find out how the Woodland Creation Fast Track supports quicker decisions for woodland creation proposals in low sensitivity areas.

Applies to England

Where woodland creation proposals meet the eligibility criteria for the Woodland Creation Fast Track (WCFT) the Forestry Commission will aim to make regulatory decisions and grant offers in 12 weeks.

Fast Track criteria

We can fast-track your woodland creation application if your proposal is:

  • within a low sensitivity area for woodland creation
  • compliant with the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)
  • completed correctly and includes all the information we need

Low sensitivity areas

Low sensitivity areas are where there are likely to be fewer sensitivities or constraints to woodland creation. They can be viewed using the ‘England Woodland Creation Low Sensitivity Map version 4.0’ layer on the Land Information Search (LIS).

We may at our discretion allow a proportion of the application to be outside the low sensitivity area, if this is required for good woodland design. This may be allowed if:

  • up to 10% of the application is outside the low sensitivity area
  • the only sensitivity outside is the land’s agricultural grade

The ‘England Woodland Creation Low Sensitivity Map version 4.0 variant 3’ on the LIS allows you to check whether your proposal falls within the second criteria point.

Read our guide to woodland creation sensitivity maps to find out more about the different map variants and what they show. 

UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)

The UKFS sets out criteria and guidance for sustainable management of forests and woodland in the UK. Your woodland creation proposal needs to be UKFS compliant.

The WCFT does not remove the need to gather evidence or for you to develop a UKFS compliant proposal. If when carrying out technical checks we have concerns with the proposal not meeting the relevant UKFS requirements and guidelines we will ‘pause the clock’ and ensure it does before we resume the Fast Track process.

Fast Track applications

If you meet these criteria, let us know by adding ‘WCFT application’ in the subject line of your email submission. We will check the criteria, informing you of the outcome and where eligible, automatically fast-track your application.

Fast Track timeline

If your application meets all the eligibility criteria, we can decide on your woodland creation proposal within 12 weeks.

The 12 week window starts after we have checked your application is complete.

There may be situations where we need longer than 12 weeks to decide or need to remove an application from WCFT. For example, if a constraint is highlighted to woodland creation not identified in the application or accounted for in the low sensitivity area. We will let you know if this is the case.

Grants available for the Fast Track

Where applying for a woodland creation grant, applications being fast-tracked still need to meet all the eligibility requirements for that grant.

The WCFT is only available for the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO).

Published 29 February 2024