Find out about funding to create native woodland or restore plantations on ancient woodland sites near to the HS2 route.
Applies to England
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 Phase One route between London and the West Midlands.
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 2024/25.
From May 2023 HS2 funding for woodland creation will be delivered via the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO). The England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) opened in June 2021. For more information on EWCO read our EWCO guide.
Applications to EWCO within the 25-mile zone of the HS2 Phase One route will be identified and administered by the Forestry Commission; those applications that are planting native woodland will be earmarked to receive funding from HS2 Ltd. HS2 Ltd will cover the costs of all capital items for tree planting and maintenance works, whilst EWCO will fund any additional contributions such as payments for nature recovery, riparian buffering and flood risk reduction. Applicants will be notified through their EWCO agreement offer and will have the option to opt out of receiving funding from HS2 Ltd if desired.
Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS)
The HS2 Woodland Fund continues to accept PAWS restoration applications. The HS2 Woodland Fund is open year-round, but PAWS restoration applications are assessed 4 times per year. View the assessment deadlines for PAWs applications 2023/24 .
Applications received in each application cycle will be ranked based on their score and will be provisionally allocated funding based on budget availability. Where there is sufficient budget to fund all applications received in each application cycle all eligible applications will progress.
For more information read our leaflet, Creating and restoring woodland: HS2 Woodland Fund.
How to apply for HS2WF PAWS restoration step by step
To apply for a grant under HS2WF PAWS restoration you will need to follow these steps:
Read the grant manual and terms and conditions on the Application form page to find out if you’re eligible, if necessary, seek initial advice from your local Woodland Officer.
Prepare a UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) compliant, FC-approved Woodland Management Plan (WMP), this must be in place before an agreement is offered. The WMP must have been approved in principle by the Woodland Officer before the application is submitted. You will also need to secure a felling licence.
Complete the application form, annex and Woodland Condition Assessment on the application form page (support is available from an FC Woodland Officer), submit this along with accompanying maps and supporting information to email@example.com noting the quarterly application deadlines.
Once your agreement is approved and you have completed the work submit your claim for payment by 31 March in the year that the planting work is scheduled to be completed (as set out in the Agreement document).
Find out if you are eligible
Your land should be inside the 25-mile zone surrounding the HS2 Phase One route and you need to be planting native woodland via the Nature Recovery Additional Contribution.
Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) restoration
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.
When applying for PAWS restoration, 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.
Full eligibility criteria
For full eligibility criteria, see the HS2 Woodland Fund grant manual on the application form page.
The Biosecure Procurement Requirement Pilot has been extended to include the HS2 Woodland Fund to address risks to our biosecurity.
From 1 July 2023 onward applicants for the HS2 Woodland Fund must commit to sourcing 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. Further information is available in the grant manual, failure to adhere to the procurement requirement may result in a reduction in the payment of your claim.
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.
How it works
Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) restoration
The HS2 Woodland Fund is open year-round but PAWS restoration applications will be assessed four times per year, it takes up to five months from receiving a valid and complete application to an agreement being offered. You will have one planting season available to complete your project.
A UKFS-compliant, FC-approved Woodland Management Plan (WMP) must be in place before an agreement is offered. The WMP must have been approved in principle by the Woodland Officer before the application is submitted. All felling permissions must be in place before an agreement is offered.
The application process for PAWS restoration also includes the completion of a Woodland Condition Assessment (form and guidance available on the Woodland Wildlife Toolkit webpages). 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 PAWS restoration application.
A full list of capital items that are available including payment rates and specifications are available in the HS2WF grant manual.
You must have a signed agreement in place before you start work. Read the HS2 Woodland Fund: terms and conditions on the Application form page
Application deadlines for 2023/24
The table below shows the application deadlines for 2023/24.
|Application deadline||All agreements issued by||Available planting seasons if your application is assessed following this deadline|
|Friday 30 June 2023||Late October 2023||Winter 2023-24|
|Friday 29 September 2023||Late February 2024||Winter 2024-25|
|Friday 15 December 2023||Late May 2024||Winter 2024-25|
|Friday 29 March 2024||Late July 2024||Winter 2024-25|
The HS2WF Review Panel will meet to review PAWS restoration applications and provisionally allocate funding around 3 weeks following each application deadline. We aim to let you know whether a Woodland Officer will be assigned to your proposal within one month of the application deadline.
Applications to EWCO for Woodland creation will not undergo a panel review.
Give consent if you appoint an agent
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.
Contact the Forestry Commission
Contact the HS2WF team for more information about the fund firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find contact details on GOV.UK at: Office access and opening times for your local Woodland Officer who can provide guidance and answer any initial questions about the PAWS restoration process.