The Forestry Commission is offering landowners and farmers in England a range of grants covering the stewardship of existing woodlands as well as the panting of new woodlands this summer.

Final budgets have yet to be confirmed but the target programme for new woodlands to be planted next autumn and winter in the region is 600 hectares. Basic funding levels are £1,800 per hectare for broadleaved planting and £1,200 per ha for conifers, with additional supplements in targeted areas of up to £2,000 per ha. In addition planting on agricultural land will attract annual payments of up to £300 per ha. for land owners running an agricultural business.

Applications need to be submitted by September 30. They are scored on the public benefit they deliver, and once the application window closes the threshold score above which applications are taken forward is set. This year the Forestry Commission are operating a fast track system whereby applications scoring 14 points or over are taken forward without waiting for the end of September deadline.

Landowners considering the creation of new woodlands this autumn are encouraged to talk to their local Woodland Officer to discuss proposals (01626 890666; www.forestry.gov.uk/southwestengland). According to the Forestry Commission, early applications scoring 14 or more points will be welcome to get agreements in place in good time for the coming planting season.