Guidance

HS2 Woodland Fund

Find out about funding to create native woodland or restore plantations on ancient woodland sites near to the HS2 route.

You can apply for funding to support woodland creation within a 25-mile zone surrounding the HS2 route - currently in phase one, London to the West Midlands.

See the HS2WF map (PDF, 239KB, 1 page)

Although the Forestry Commission (on behalf of HS2 Ltd) has now committed the budget of the £1 million fund, which opened for applications in January 2018, you can submit an expression of interest form and will be notified when the Forestry Commission is accepting full applications, should further funding become available. Allocation of potential funding will be on a first-come first-served basis.

Find out more about why the funding is available in the HS2 Woodland Fund leaflet. (PDF, 427KB, 3 pages)

Find out if you’re eligible

Your land should be inside the 25-mile zone of the HS2 Phase one route. If your land falls just outside this zone but you make a proposal of outstanding quality, you may be considered for funding at the discretion of the Forestry Commission.

You can’t apply to the HS2 Woodland Fund (HS2WF) if your land is already under an Environmental Stewardship agreement.

Thresholds criteria

You must meet the following criteria to create new woodland and/or restore plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS):

Thresholds Creation PAWS
Minimum application size Connecting or extending existing woodland: minimum application area 1ha; minimum block size 0.1ha. Standalone woodland: minimum application area 5ha; minimum block size 5ha. Minimum width (either connecting/expanding or standalone): 20 metres. Minimum application of 0.5ha. Minimum felling coupe size 0.1ha.
Maximum application size Connecting or extending existing woodland: maximum application area 25ha. Standalone woodland: maximum application area 25ha. No Maximum application area. 0.1 - 2ha for individual felling coupes.
Stocking densities stems per ha (sph) 1600 - 2500 1100 - 2500 (where there’s existing natural native broadleaf regeneration, you must plant to enrich this and reach the stocking density range).
Species mix: see the application form for a list of funded trees and shrubs, and a list of unfunded shrubs that you may include but will not be funded. A selection of native trees and shrubs: up to 20% honorary broadleaves; up to 20% woody shrubs; no single species to be more than 70%. A selection of native trees and shrubs: where honorary broadleaves are present on site up to 20% may be replanted, or the percentage present at the time of felling can be replanted up to a maximum of 20%; up to 20% shrubs; no single species to be more than 70% of the restock area.
Species selection Use the Ecological Site Classification Tool to inform species selection based on the medium to high climate change projections up to 2080. You can get support from a Forestry Commission woodland officer. Use the Ecological Site Classification Tool to inform species selection based on the medium to high climate change projections up to 2080. You can get support from a Forestry Commission woodland officer.
Creation/management plan The woodland creation plan is embedded in the application form for you to submit. A UKFS-compliant, Forestry Commission-approved woodland management plan must be in place before an HS2 Woodland Fund agreement is offered.

See the full UKFS publication.

How it works

You’ll receive a total payment per hectare for capital items, capped at £8,500 (gross) for native woodland creation and £4,000 (net) for PAWS restoration.

You’ll also get a 10-year maintenance payment for woodland creation at £200 per hectare per annum. This is paid in 2 instalments at years 5 and 10 of the agreement period. (If you’re applying on behalf of the state or local authorities you can’t apply for maintenance payments.)

The cap for native woodland creation does not include leaky woody dams. The cap for PAWS restoration is based on the net area of planting and does not include any protection or preparation measures.

You must have a signed agreement in place before you start work. Read the HS2 Woodland Fund: terms and conditions (PDF, 199KB, 12 pages) .

Payment rates per capital item

You can cover 100% costs of a range of capital items in your application based on the standard costs below.

This table summarises payment rates and links to detailed specifications about capital items:

Capital item Payment rate (100%) Specification Available for PAWS Available for native woodland creation
Tree planting £1.60 / tree CS TE4 Yes Yes
Tree shelters £2.00 / tree CS TE5 Yes Yes
Temp deer fencing £6.50 / m CS FG10 Yes Yes
Stock fence £5 / m CS FG1 Yes Yes
Rabbit netting £3.13 / m CS FG4 Yes Yes
Field gate £487.50 / gate CS FG12 Yes Yes
Stone wall top netting £4.50 / m CS BN13 Yes Yes
Badger gate £168.75 / m CS FG14 Yes Yes
Leaky woody dams 1-3m £576.75 / m CS RP32 Yes Yes
Leaky woody dams 3-5m £995.54 / m CS RP33 Yes Yes
Deer high seats £375 / seat CS FY1 Yes No
Deer exclosure plot £136 / plot CS FG11 Yes No
Deer fencing £8.55 / m Read the HS2WF specification below Yes Yes
Invasive species control list A £3,500 / ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Invasive species control list A 2.5-4m £4,000 / ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Invasive species control list A 4+m £5,500 / ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Invasive species control list B* £324 / ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Invasive species control list C* £171.60 / ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Invasive species control list D* £394.63 / ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Deer impact assessments* £300 up to 25 ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Deer vehicle gates (3m x 1.8m)* £430.76 / gate Read the HS2WF specification below Yes Yes
Deer pedestrian gates (0.9m x 1.8m)* £339.85 / gate Read the HS2WF specification below Yes Yes
Ground prep for natural regeneration* £121.85 / ha Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Squirrel management cage trap* £15 / unit Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Squirrel management multi-catch cage trap* £89.50 / unit Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Squirrel management spring trap (mid-range)* £46.93 / unit Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No
Squirrel management automatic self-setting trap* £120.83 / unit Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No

Any squirrel traps funded under HS2WF must be legally compliant. The rules on mammal traps are changing and you will have to keep checking that you are legally compliant. Speak with your woodland officer if you’re unsure.

Ground prep for natural regeneration is only available in PAWS applications, and only where there’s no surviving ancient woodland flora, and/or natural regeneration, and/or native understorey present.

See the invasive species lists. (PDF, 180KB, 2 pages)

Basic Payment Scheme

You can continue to get Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments if you’ve met eligibility requirements for HS2 funding. You must have claimed BPS payments for your land since 2008 and completely excluded livestock from your newly created woodland. If you aren’t on the BPS scheme grazing permission will be at the Forestry Commission’s discretion and is not guaranteed. Trees must be protected from grazing during the agreement and obligation period.

To continue receiving BPS payments, you must notify the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) of your newly planted woodland - complete an RLE1 form to update the land cover with RPA. Read Guidance on woodland grant schemes and the Basic Payment Scheme (PDF, 331KB, 12 pages) (operations note 42) for more information.

How to apply

As the Forestry Commission has now allocated grants worth £1 million, you can only submit an expression of interest. Download the HS2 Woodland Fund expression of interest form to complete and send to: hs2woodlandfund@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

If you decide to appoint an agent to apply for funding on your behalf you must complete an Agent Authority form to give your consent.

(This is not the same form that you would complete to appoint an agent to apply for Countryside Stewardship: woodland support.)

Contact the Forestry Commission (England)

For more information contact the scheme administrator at hs2woodlandfund@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Find out how to make a complaint or appeal.

Published 9 July 2018