The England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) will become part of the new Local Nature Recovery scheme in 2025.
The Local Nature Recovery scheme is one of the new environmental land management schemes (ELMs) which farmers and landowners are being encouraged to apply for, to get a share of the scheme’s £25 million worth of funding.
With the scheme, farmers and landowners could receive a one-off payment of £8,500 per hectare followed by annual maintenance payments of £300 per ha, for 10 years.
For those currently supported by EWCO, the Local Nature Recovery scheme’s design and approach to payment rates for planting trees will largely mirror those offered by the current scheme – so there should be no delay to farmers and landowner’s tree planting plans.
Similarly, farmers and landowners can still apply to EWCO for grants and support for the creation of woodlands.
“Farmers and land managers can now have the confidence to grow trees under EWCO, safe in the knowledge that they will be able to easily transition into the Local Nature Recovery scheme in the future – without the worry that futures schemes will be significantly different,” said the Forestry Commission’s chief executive, Richard Stanford.
“Trees play an important role in providing shade and shelter for livestock, and reducing soil and nutrient loss. Given the recent hot dry weather it’s vital our farmers and land managers plan for the future to build in resilience to climate change and take advantage of the woodland creation incentives available today,” Mr Stanford concluded.
The Forestry Commission expect that existing England Woodland Creation Offer agreement holders will have the opportunity to transition their maintenance payments into the Local Nature Recovery scheme from 2026; to continue the government’s pledge that no one will be made worse off if they start planting now, rather than waiting for future government schemes.