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 native woodland creation or the restoration of Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) within a 25-mile zone surrounding the HS2 route - currently in Phase One, from London to the West Midlands.

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

The HS2 Woodland Fund (HS2WF) opened on a ‘first come, first served’ basis in February 2018, with an initial budget of £1 million. A further £4 million budget is now available to be allocated to projects until 2022/23.

The fund is open year round, but applications are assessed 4 times per year. View the assessment deadlines for 2020 - 2021.

The highest scoring applications in each quarter will be provisionally allocated funding and assigned a Forestry Commission Woodland Officer. Expressions of Interest are no longer being accepted.

Find out more about why the funding is available in the HS2 Woodland Fund leaflet. (PDF, 4.28MB, 4 pages)

Case study

At Avon Wood, Mr Harding, a landowner from Warwickshire, applied to the HS2 Woodland Fund when the fund originally opened in January 2018. After finding out that his application had been successful, planting started in November 2018. Read about Mr Harding’s experiences of applying to the HS2 Woodland Fund, and creating a new woodland (PDF, 307KB, 2 pages)

Watch the video below to hear from Mr. Harding, the forestry agent who supported him, and the Forestry Commission Woodland Officer who progressed the application:

hear from Mr. Harding, the forestry agent who supported him, and the Forestry Commission Woodland Officer who progressed the application on our YouTube channel.

Find out if you’re eligible

Your land should be inside the 25-mile zone surrounding 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 and the HS2 Woodland Fund Review Panel.

You can’t enter into an HS2 Woodland Fund (HS2WF) agreement if the land in your application is under an Environmental Stewardship or Countryside Stewardship agreement.

We may accept an application where you can provide written evidence that you have contacted the relevant grant administrator about an amendment or early closure to remove land within the HS2WF proposal from an existing grant agreement, and that you are aware of all potential penalties or reclaims that may be incurred.

In these cases, we may make an ‘in principle’ agreement offer once your Woodland Officer has carried out all checks and consultation, and your proposal has been finalised. We do not recommend triggering an amendment or early closure process in relation to the existing agreement until you have received such an offer from us.

Your land must be free of existing grant agreements before any final HS2 Woodland Fund agreement offer is made. If you are in any doubt or require further clarification, email hs2woodlandfund@forestrycommission.gov.uk.

The Forestry Commission is not responsible for any delays to the issuing of a final agreement due to the amendment or early closure of existing grant agreements, nor for the decisions made by other grant administrators in relation to existing grant agreements.

You can’t apply to HS2WF if your proposal is subject to a current or recently withdrawn application for woodland funding through Countryside Stewardship or the Woodland Carbon Fund.

If you are applying for support to restore plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS), you must have a Woodland Management Plan approved in principle by the Forestry Commission, and no grant offer will be made until a Woodland Management Plan and all associated Felling Licences have been formally approved by the Forestry Commission.

Thresholds criteria

You must meet the following criteria to create new woodland and/or restore PAWS through the HS2 Woodland Fund.

Thresholds Creation PAWS
Minimum application size Connecting or extending existing ancient or ancient semi-natural 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 ancient or ancient semi-natural 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 annex 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: honorary native species may - where honorary broadleaves are present on site – make up a maximum of either 20% of the planting mix or the percentage of honorary natives present at the time of felling (whichever is lower). 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.

See the full UKFS publication.

How it works

You’ll receive a total payment based on the range of funded capital items that you put into your application, up to a specified cap. For native woodland creation, the total capital payment is capped at £8,500 per (gross) hectare of planting - this does not apply to any woodland creation maintenance payments. For PAWS restoration, the total amount for tree planting costs is capped at £4,000 per (net) hectare of restocking, but the cap does not apply to capital items (such as fencing) over and above tree planting. For both application types, the relevant cap does not include leaky woody dams - these can be included over and above the cap.

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.

You can watch the HS2 Woodland Fund customer webinar below:

Watch the HS2 Woodland Fund customer webinar

You must have a signed agreement in place before you start work. Read the HS2 Woodland Fund: terms and conditions (PDF, 206KB, 13 pages).

Application deadlines for 2020/21

Applications to the HS2 Woodland Fund are accepted all year round, but are assessed 4 times a year. You will have one or 2 planting seasons available to choose, depending on when your application is submitted. The table below shows the application deadlines for 2020/21 and the planting seasons associated with them.

Application deadline All agreements issued by Available planting seasons if your application is assessed following this deadline
Friday 1 May 2020 Late October 2020 Winter 2020-21
Friday 14 August 2020 Late January 2021 Winter 2021-22
Friday 27 November 2020 Late April 2021 Winter 2021-22
Friday 13 March 2021 Late June 2021 Winter 2021-22

The HS2 Woodland Fund Review Panel will meet to review applications and provisionally allocate funding around 3 weeks following each application deadline. We aim to let you know whether or not a Woodland Officer will be assigned to your proposal within one month of the application deadline.

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 £159.99 / unit Read the HS2WF specification below Yes No

Any squirrel traps funded under the HS2 Woodland Fund 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 restoration applications, and only where there is no surviving ancient woodland flora, natural regeneration, or native understory 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 HS2WF funding. You must have claimed BPS payments for your land since 2008 and completely exclude 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 our guidance on woodland grant schemes and BPS: operations note 42 for more information.

How to apply

Submit an application

Complete and send the 2020 application form, application annex and at least one map to: hs2woodlandfund@forestrycommission.gov.uk. Only applications submitted using the 2020 form and annex will be accepted.

The Forestry Commission has published guidance on Managing England’s woodlands in a climate emergency. You are advised to read and incorporate its advice into your applications.

A woodland condition survey must be completed for all PAWS applications. This can either be submitted with your application, or completed with your Woodland Officer during a site visit. This straightforward assessment, which involves a walking survey through your wood, will give an overview of the condition of your wood’s habitats and will identify any issues you may need to address as part of your HS2WF application. The assessment will need to cover the whole woodland, not just the areas to be felled and restored.

Maps

You must submit at least one map showing the boundary of your project and the location of all capital items included in your application annex. The kind of map you need to submit depends on whether you are applying for support for woodland creation, PAWS restoration, or both. Below, you can see which map(s) you need to submit and links to examples of what these should look like.

Creation

  • An HS2 Planting Map (PDF, 345KB, 1 page). This is a zoned and annotated map showing the location of different tree species to be planted
  • An HS2 Concept Map (PDF, 274KB, 1 page). This is a map showing the design of the woodland including the location of all capital items in your application, areas of open space and fence lines

PAWS

  • An HS2 Work Area Map (PDF, 304KB, 1 page). This is a map showing the area of planned restoration activity, including the location of all capital items in your application, areas of open space, and fence lines
  • A Woodland Management Plan Map. This is a map from your Woodland Management Plan showing the entire woodland area and the location of different activity types. This map will demonstrate the context of your HS2WF application within your wider woodland.

All maps should show a 6 figure OS grid reference, North arrow, scale, and key, and all compartment numbers in your application annex should be marked on the maps. You should number your maps and ensure that the name of your woodland is written on it clearly.

If you decide to appoint an agent to apply for funding on your behalf you must complete a Forestry Commission 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@forestrycommission.gov.uk

Find out how to make a complaint or appeal.

Published 9 July 2018
Last updated 22 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. The 'HS2 Woodland Fund: terms and conditions' have been updated.

  2. The application deadlines for 2020/21 have been updated.

  3. The Forestry Commission recommends applicants incorporate advice from the 'Managing England’s woodlands in a climate emergency' guidance into their HS2 Woodland Fund applications. This information has been added to this page.

  4. The page has been updated with information on the HS2 Woodland Fund 2020.

  5. The following have been updated: - The thresholds criteria table - Information about the woodland condition survey

  6. Information about eligibility for the HS2 Woodland Fund has been updated under the 'Find out if you’re eligible' section.

  7. This page has been updated with information on the HS2 Woodland Fund 2019, which opened today.

  8. Update to reopen scheme for 2019. Inclusion of example maps.

  9. First published.