Almost £8 million has been allocated for local authorities to train and employ new staff - building local capacity to plan and deliver new woodlands;
Woodlands will be created close to where people live to enable greater access to nature for all, boosting health and wellbeing and helping to tackle climate change.
A £7.8 million fund to support Local Authorities with the new staff and expertise needed to kickstart woodland creation and tree planting plans is now open.
The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund will provide at least 50 Local Authorities with financial support to bring on board the professional expertise they need to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments. Delivered by the Forestry Commission in partnership with Defra as part of the £750 million Nature for Climate Fund, successful applicants to the fund will be awarded up to £150,000 each.
Available to Local Authorities across England, newly trained or employed staff could include project managers, woodland creation officers, community engagement officers, funding consultants, or specialist advisors, such as landscape architects or archaeologists. Together, the staff will focus on developing planting plans and applications for capital funding in 2023/2024 and 2024/2025, speeding up the delivery of new woodlands. This will help to ensure communities across England benefit from being close to nature, which will boost health and wellbeing, create new places for biodiversity to thrive and contribute to wider Government efforts to treble tree planting rates in England by the end of this Parliament.
Sir William Worsley, Forestry Commission Chair, said:
“By investing in tree planting and woodland creation, local authorities can play a pivotal role in addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
“The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund will help local authorities across England to turn aspirations into actions. This fund will help to increase the number of trained and experienced staff and expand our nation’s much-loved treescapes so everyone can benefit from the social, environmental and economic benefits they bring.”
Hannah Bartram, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), said:
“Local authorities are critical to the delivery of the UK’s transition to a cleaner, greener future. To succeed, we need to invest in our green infrastructure, including planting trees at scale, helping to tackle climate change and the biodiversity crisis.
“ADEPT is delighted to be supporting the launch of the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, which is designed to support local authorities by increasing their capacity for specialist skills, helping them to accelerate their tree and woodland planting plans.”
All upper tier authorities (county councils, unitary councils, London boroughs, metropolitan boroughs and combined authorities) are eligible to apply. Local Authorities will be invited to outline the measures they propose to increase capacity and in return identify the area of new woodland or numbers of trees they will commit to plant by the 2024/25 winter planting season.
The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 8 July 2022.
On Tuesday 21 June, ADEPT and the Forestry Commission held a webinar for Local Authorities to explain more about the fund and the application process.
For more information and guidance on how to complete an application, go to Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund on GOV.UK or read the Forestry Commission’s blog.