From today, it will be easier for landowners to access Government grants for creating new woodland, Environment Minister Therese Coffey has announced.

Applications are now being accepted for the latest round of the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant – a scheme which provides up to £6,800 a hectare to help farmers, foresters and landowners tap into the environmental and financial benefits of tree planting.

In a drive to encourage more projects to come forward and give applicants longer to prepare, the funding will now be available 12 months a year – replacing a previously time-limited application window.

The extension supports the Government’s commitment to plant 11 million trees, which will provide habitats for wildlife, help to prevent flood risk and reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

Environment Minister Therese Coffey said: “By planting more trees and creating new woodlands, landowners in England can help to protect and enhance the environment now and for future generations.

“I look forward to seeing as many applications as possible come forward in support of our continued drive to grow woodland cover.”

Economic, environmental and social benefits

Richard Greenhous, Forestry Commission director of forest services, added: “By making it easier to apply for generous grant support, we are ensuring that we deliver on the Government’s and the forestry sector’s ambitions to plant millions more trees across the country.

“We look forward to hearing from applicants who want to reap the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable woodland creation.”

The Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant is a Defra scheme delivered by the Forestry Commission and is a capital grant, where applicants can apply for one-off payments for the trees which will be planted and associated infrastructure.

The Government has made a number of improvements to the scheme, including streamlining the application process and improving guidance for landowners looking to capitalise on the environmental and economic benefits offered.