EWCO FETF and SFI update

EWCO FETF and SFI update

DEFRA has announced a significant uplift in payments for the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) to encourage an increase in tree-planting across the country. Within EWCO, additional contribution payments can be applied for where the location of a woodland and its design will deliver public benefits. Payments for additional contributions which deliver public benefits are immediately increasing by 45% and the maximum sum available will now be £11,600.

Improvements to the offer include:

• The introduction of a new payment of £1,100 per hectare to encourage EWCO applications on “low sensitivity” land to avoid planting trees on land most suitable for food production. “Low sensitivity” land is land with few constraints where successful woodland establishment is more likely. The Forestry Commission has created sensitivity maps to show areas that it considers to be for establishing new woodland.

• A new ‘Nature Recovery – premium’ payment of £3,300 per hectare has been added to the Nature Recovery Additional Contribution. This is designed to encourage the planting or natural colonisation of highly biodiverse woodlands next to ancient woodland.

• Payment rates have increased for the existing additional contributions, for example, payments for flood risk management have doubled from £500 to £1,000 per hectare, and payments for recreational access have increased from £2,200 to £3,700.

• Annual maintenance payments have also been raised from £350 to £400 per hectare, per year, for 15 years.

There is now a Woodland Creation Fast Track which is available for proposals with at least 90% of land located on low sensitivity land. Fast tracked applications will be decided within 12 weeks (60 working days) as long as the application is complete, correct and UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) compliant.

 

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