ealert: 2 September 2020 – Request for feedback in customer survey

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We would love to hear your feedback – look out for our survey if you have recently had a decision from us, read about the third Woodland Carbon Guarantee auctions which is now open and plan your HS2 winter 2021/22 planting. We have also recently published a blog from Sir Edward Milbank, the England Tree Strategy consultation closes on the 11 September so have your say now. Please make sure that you meet any deadlines relating to current Woodland Creation Grant or Woodland Tree Health Grant applications made under EU regulations.

1. We really want to hear your feedback. If you receive a survey please complete it!

If you have received a grant or licence decision in the last year, you will shortly receive an invite to complete our customer survey. We would really appreciate your feedback to help us improve our services.

It may have been a while ago that you received your decision from us, but due to Coronavirus, we have not been able to arrange the survey until now, your feedback is still important. For any future decisions on grants or licences, you will receive a link to complete the survey immediately.

2. The third Woodland Carbon Guarantee auction is now open for applications. Apply by midnight on 11 October 2020

We recently announced that £10 million will be available in the third auction of the Woodland Carbon Guarantee. Launched in November 2019, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a £50 million scheme that aims to help accelerate woodland planting rates and permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Following an online auction process, successful bidders will be offered the option to sell woodland carbon in the form of Woodland Carbon Units – a financial value given to each tonne of carbon stored – to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price protected against inflation.

Land managers and farmers across England are encouraged to submit their applications before the closing date at midnight on 11 October 2020. The next auction which will take place online for one week between 26 October and 1 November.

In order to apply for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, woodland creation projects will need to be registered with and managed under the Woodland Carbon Code. Applicants should bear in mind that it can take 1-2 weeks to complete the Woodland Carbon Code registration and Woodland Carbon Guarantee application processes. It is important to allow sufficient time for this ahead of the auction deadline. However, this period can be shortened significantly by working with a project developer, the details of whom can be found on the Woodland Carbon Code website.

3. Plan your HS2 winter 2021/22 planting. HS2 Woodland Fund is open for applications

The HS2 Woodland Fund is open to woodland creation and PAWS restoration applications for planting in winter 2021/22. That might seem a long way off, but applying now (before 27 November) to get an agreement by Spring next year, would leave you plenty of time to arrange plant supply and contractors afterwards. Remember that the golden rule of grant schemes is that no work (including ordering plants) can take place before you formally enter an grant agreement, so planning ahead to get an agreement in place well before the planting season makes a lot of sense! Get in touch with your local Woodland Officer or email hs2woodlandfund@forestrycommission.gov.uk for more information.

4. Read our blog post from Sir Edward Milbank. Find out why he thinks that it’s so important to respond to the England Tree Strategy consultation

His blog is available to read now.

5. Don’t miss your chance to have your say on the England Tree Strategy consultation. Consultation closes on 11 September 2020

On 19 June the government launched a consultation which will inform a new England Tree Strategy. Everyone – from farmers, foresters and land managers, experts and environmental organisations, to members of the public – is being invited to give their views on the future creation and management of our trees, woodlands and forests, including:

  • how to expand, protect and improve our public and private trees and woodlands
  • the increased role that trees and woodlands can play in supporting the economy
  • how best to further connect people to nature
  • the most effective way in which trees and woodlands can be created and managed to help combat climate change and recover nature

Subject to consultation, the new strategy will set out policies to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands. It will help ensure the government’s tree planting commitment – to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025 – is delivered, working closely with the devolved administrations, communities and landowners to do so.

For more information about the England Tree Strategy consultation and to submit your views please visit the consultation page before the closing date on 11 September 2020.

6. Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation and Tree Health grant applications

If your Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant and/or Woodland Tree Health Grant application was started before 8 July 2020 it was made under EU regulations.
The deadlines for getting approvals on the EU applications are tight, so if there are any outstanding questions from the Forestry Commission we would appreciate a quick response from applicants. If EU-funded applications are not completed and agreements confirmed before 31 December 2020 a new application may need to be submitted.

Both Woodland Creation and Woodland Tree Health grant applications moved to domestic regulations from 15 July 2020. These domestic applications are also being processed but note that although an agreement can be signed and in place before 1 January 2021, no works can start until after that date or until the scheme is approved, whichever date is later.

If you have queries regarding applications, please liaise with your respective Forestry Commission Woodland Officer and or ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk.

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