THE Forestry England Woodland Partnership, which offers long-term rental income to farmers, landowners and public bodies in return for a minimum 50-hectare lease, is moving to a year-round scheme with applications now welcome at any time.

Initially launched in March 2021 with a three-month application window, the partnership offer has attracted a high number of applicants interested in the chance to diversify their farming or landowning businesses and receive guaranteed, regular payments by leasing areas of land for Forestry England to create and manage new woodland.

Forestry England is encouraging anyone interested in the partnership scheme to apply at a time that suits them and will regularly assess applications throughout the year. As part of the Nature for Climate Fund to support the government’s tree planting commitment, the Forestry England Woodland Partnership aims to create at least 2,000 hectares of predominantly broadleaf woodland over the next five years.

READ MORE: New grants to help local authorities increase tree planting

The re-opening of the scheme coincides with an announcement from York City Council last week that Forestry England would be their preferred delivery partner for a new 194-acre York Community Woodland potentially leased for 120 years.

Forestry England is currently assessing several other sites from the first applications, looking at their suitability for woodland creation and the natural capital impact each new woodland will create, including supporting wildlife habitats and improving air quality and soil health. All the new woodlands will have public access to offer health and wellbeing benefits for local communities.

The scheme sits alongside other grants and incentives available for woodland creation, including the England Woodland Creation Offer, the Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds and the Local Authority Treescapes Fund. Further information on the Forestry England Woodland Partnership and how to apply is on Forestry England’s website.