Applications for new £6m fund start from 3 November, with environmental charities, not-for-profits, local authorities and protected landscape bodies encouraged to apply.

Action to get more trees in the ground, create more jobs and improve access to nature across the country has been stepped up today (Sunday 31 October) with a new £6 million ‘Trees Call to Action Fund’.

Grants of £250,000 to £500,000 will be awarded to projects across England, at least three of which will be for new regional partnerships set up to create woodlands at a large scale and improve people’s access to nature, following the Forest for Cornwall and Great Northumberland Forest partnerships.

The fund will competitively allocate funding to up to 24 regional or national projects managed by partnerships of environmental charities, not-for-profit organisations, local authorities and protected landscape bodies.

Funding will be targeted at regions, activities and costs which are not supported by other government funding for trees, aiming to increase community understanding of and access to trees and woodlands, and boost efforts to increase woodland cover in areas that need it most.

To increase the capacity and skills of the sector, the fund will also support projects to engage people with trees, create new jobs and develop skills and knowledge, for example this could be by developing training and placement programmes for new foresters and woodland managers.

Today’s announcement will support progress towards the Government’s commitment in the England Trees Action Plan to at least treble planting rates by the end of this Parliament. The Plan, supported by over £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund, outlines how the government will deliver this target, by announcing a programme of measures to boost tree planting and improve woodland management in England. Projects will be required to outline how they can best deliver against the England Trees Action Plan.

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said:

With the climate change summit COP26 just days away, there has never been a more important time for trees and tree planting.

This new Fund will help fund regional and national partnerships of charities, local authorities and others to turn ambitions into actions, to engage communities and landowners in tree planting, and to develop skills to help deliver our England Trees Action Plan.

Forestry Commission Chief Executive Richard Stanford said:

To meet the climate and biodiversity crises we need to grow and manage more trees – this needs to be done as a national effort so we are better connecting people with nature and creating more green jobs. This Fund will have a hugely important role in helping us realise these ambitions, as set out in the England Trees Action Plan.

I would urge any prospective applicant to apply, together we will grow trees, woods and forests to make our nation more resilient for future generations.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

Trees are a critical part of our natural heritage, from capturing carbon emissions to mitigating pollution, they play a vital role in protecting and enhancing our landscape for all generations to enjoy. We are delighted to support this new Trees Call to Action Fund which will enable partnerships to create woodlands, enhancing our beautiful countryside and providing a huge benefit to our wildlife and our health and wellbeing, as well as helping to combat the impacts of climate change.

The fund will be delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Defra and the Forestry Commission.

Potential applicants can submit Expressions of Interest from 3 November. The Heritage Fund will also release further guidance and details of the application process on that date, with information available via their website, social media channels and e-newsletter.

Today’s announcement forms part of wider steps we are taking under the England Trees Action Plan and Nature for Climate Fund. This includes over £15 million this year alone for Forestry Commission’s flagship England Woodland Creation Offer grant, over £25m for existing Woodland Creation Partnerships this year, £6 million for the Urban Trees Challenge Fund for the next two years, and a £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund.

More information on the fund and how to apply is available here.


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