Applications for the woodland creation capital grant scheme are now open.
Farmers and land owners can claim up to £6,800 per hectare to plant and protect young trees under the woodland creation capital grant scheme.
The scheme also offers £200 per hectare for 10 years as maintenance support for eligible schemes.
Cash from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development is backing the scheme, and applications need to be sent to Natural England by March 31, 2016.
While Natural England claims the woodland can support wildlife, reduce flood risk and improve water quality, Jo Robinson, rural associate at Carter Jonas warns landowners to read the small print very carefully.
He states any scheme subject to a woodland creation agreement must not be used for any agricultural activity, including grazing, for at least five years following the final capital payment, or whilst maintenance payments continue.
"The minimum application area is three hectares, although this reduces to one hectare where the woodland will improve water quality or reduce flooding.”
“Restrictions could have significant impact for some landowners, and while there are limits on open space within schemes, creating new woodland close to or connecting with existing native woodland will enhance a scheme’s chances of grant success.
“Landowners also need to factor in the length of time that the process can take.
The woodland must be registered with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and mapped on their system prior to receiving any grant aid.
"As this process can take between nine and twelve months, effectively the grant is now only available to any woodland already on the system.
"Clients would be advised to factor this into their timeframes and expectations.”
Countryside Stewardship is the scheme in which all agri-environment, catchment sensitive farming, and woodland grants are made.
Grant Checker is an online tool that allows you to look up and research agricultural grants, loans and scholarships available to you as a farmer.
You can access the Grant Checker via your desktop computer, tablet or a mobile device to search grants based on your location and age.
For more information about this, and other grants available to you, visit FG Insight's Grant Checker by clicking here.