Planting trees in the right places can bring lots of benefits for the environment, including enhancing wildlife, drawing down carbon, improving air and water quality and reducing flood risk. Trees can also bring benefits to farm businesses such as providing shelter and shade for livestock, improving boundaries, reducing soil loss and providing income from unproductive areas of land.
Currently, trees and woodlands cover just 14% of land in England but there are big ambitions to increase this. Planting more trees will bring lots of benefits but it has to be done in a way that doesn’t reduce food production or damage any existing wildlife habitats.
West Cumbria Rivers Trust are particularly supportive of planting trees along riverbanks. Rivers are getting warmer and this can affect river wildlife and water quality. Trees provide shade, keeping rivers cool. Buffer strips of bankside trees also reduce bank erosion, filter runoff, slow down flood waters and help to manage livestock.
The Rivers Trusts, National Trust, Woodland Trust and Beaver Trust have come together to create the Riverscapes Partnership. The partnership combines the expertise of these organisations with the aim of increasing responsible tree planting
Woodlands for Water is the first project developed by the Riverscapes Partnership, which aims to create 3,150 hectares of trees in six river catchment areas from Cumbria to Cornwall by March 2025. With funding support from DEFRA, dedicated advisors will provide free site visits, advice and support to landowners and help them apply for the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) to create new native woodlands.
This project has been delivered through the Nature for Climate funding from Defra. You can read more via their Put Down Roots campaign here.
he Forestry Commission’s new England Woodland Creation Offer not only provides funding to cover all the capital costs and maintenance of creating new native woodland but also gives the landowner a lump sum payment to recognise the benefits that woodlands bring for nature and society. The additional payment that landowners or farmers could receive depends on the location of the woodland but is likely to be between £900 and £2,400 per acre (£2,000 to £5,300 per hectare).
Any landowner or land manager in England can apply for the England Woodland Creation Offer. A minimum area of just 2.5 acres (1 Ha) needs to be entered into the scheme, in blocks of at least 0.25 acres. This can include shelterbelts and buffer strips as well as larger woodland areas, and could provide a source of income for areas of land that are currently unproductive. Areas can be planted with trees or can be left to colonise naturally, as long as there are seed trees nearby. As well as the lump-sum payment, the scheme pays £350/Ha/year for ten years to maintain the woodland as it establishes. The carbon credits from the new woodland can also be sold as an additional source of income.
Within the Derwent and Ellen catchments (including all the land around the Rivers Derwent, Ellen, Cocker, Marron, St. John’s Beck, Greta/Glenderamackin and their feeder streams), West Cumbria Rivers Trust have funding to support landowners to make an application. This includes getting consents, drawing up designs, getting necessary permissions, filling in the application forms and overseeing the planting. This support will be provided free of charge. If you’d like to find out more, including how much funding you’d be eligible for, get in touch with: Caitlin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 017687 75429.
If you are outside of this area, we’d still be interested in hearing from you and would be happy to outline the different options for funding woodland planting and maintenance that would be available for your land.
Please be aware that it is the responsibility of the landowner to meet the conditions of any grants obtained.