Millions of funding for projects in England to plant hundreds of thousands of trees

Tree planting at Bear Wood at Kingston Lacy in Dorset. Credit NTI & James Dobson

Over a quarter of a million trees to be planted thanks to funds awarded as part of National Tree Week.

Hundreds of thousands of trees will be planted in communities across England thanks to funding through the Nature for Climate Fund, announced by Defra and the Forestry Commission as National Tree Week launched today (Saturday 27 November).

Over £12 million will be allocated to the successful applicants to four funds supporting tree planting efforts for future generations.

260,000 trees will be planted outside of woodlands as part of the Local Authority Treescapes Fund with 139 local authorities awarded a share of the now £4.4 million pot across 42 projects. Projects will support a variety of ways to get trees in the ground, from natural regeneration and traditional planting to community engagement.

Local residents, schools and environmental groups will come together to plant trees in shared spaces, with training provided to support community groups. These initiatives will restore trees to non-wooded areas such as riverbanks, along hedgerows, beside roads and footpaths, and within vacant community spaces – areas where treescapes are often highly degraded due to neglect, disease or historical decline.

Urban forests make our towns and cities safer, healthier and more pleasant places to be, helping boost people’s wellbeing as well as contributing towards efforts to tackle climate change. 46 projects in England planting almost 25,000 trees will be supported through the third round of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, building upon the 134,000 trees already planted through this fund in deprived urban areas.

Also announced today, the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds will distribute almost £700,000 to 17 projects restoring biodiversity in vulnerable natural habitats, helping woodlands adapt to a changing climate and aiding their recovery from the impacts of pests and diseases.

Projects will develop new business models and supply chains for ash timber, helping to restore woodlands damaged by ash dieback. Projects will also improve access to woodlands to allow for active management where previously not possible, whilst engaging with forestry businesses and conservation organisations on woodland management.

In addition, the Tree Production Innovation Fund will make over £1 million available to 16 innovative projects striving to increase and diversify our domestic tree production. Those selected include collaborations from researchers, nurseries, seed suppliers and industry, such as the Future Trees Trust, the University of Oxford and Maelor Forest Nurseries.

These projects will explore a range of novel production methods including the establishment of clonal seed orchards for oak, use of AI in advanced propagation systems and DNA finger-printing technologies for the genetic tracing of Forest Reproductive Materials (FRM), respectively.

Forestry Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said:

This targeted package of funding will help us to build back greener and regenerate natural spaces across the country for the benefit of all.

Trees are at the heart of our ambitious environmental programme, as we work to deliver on the promises we made at COP26 and treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament. But at the local level, trees and woodlands are the lifeblood of communities, essential to supporting wellbeing, reducing pollution and improving people’s quality of life.

Forestry Commission Chair, Sir William Worsley said:

These inspiring initiatives will help to stem the tide of biodiversity loss and promote resilient tree growth and management across the UK, whilst helping to futureproof our natural world amidst a changing climate.

Today’s funding allocation also comes alongside the launch of a third national community forest which will be created in Cumbria, marking the fulfilment of the Government’s commitment in the England Trees Action Plan to create three new community forests, and helping to deliver on the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament.

The new forest planted will comprise of up to 150 hectares (or around 210 football pitches) of trees, woodlands and forests created along the west coast of Cumbria from Barrow to Carlisle which will better connect 65 miles of coastal communities to nature.

Defra and the Forestry Commission have a variety of flexible grants which offer strong financial incentives for planting trees where they are most needed. The grants cover different areas – from support to plan new woodlands, making urban areas greener, developing carbon markets, and to increase domestic planting stock – and are targeted at different audiences – including farmers and landowners, communities, eNGOs, local authorities, and individuals.

summary of all Defra and Forestry Commission grants and support available for tree planting can be found here.


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