New trees planted in woodland with plastic guards

Delays in the process and approval of applications for the Woodland Creation Planning Grant scheme could potentially hamper the government’s drive to increase the amount of woodland in England, Carter Jonas says.


Marc Liebrecht, Associate Partner at Carter Jonas, believes the government’s ambition for  farmers to plant more woodlands is being curtailed by the processes in place to approve funding.


“The government has a plan to plant 30,000 hectares of trees per year by the end of this parliament,” says Mr Liebrecht. “But because the mechanisms by which grants are claimed are so complicated and time consuming, many landowners are giving up and moving onto other projects.


“Though the planting of more trees is a high-level strategic promise, in reality, it is proving much harder than anticipated to actually get trees in the ground.”


Unveiled in May 2021, the England Trees Action Plan set out its aim to increase tree-planting rates three-fold in England by the end of the current parliament. To facilitate this growth, the England Woodland Creation Offer was launched; a grant scheme open to applications from small areas of land from one hectare upwards.


The £500m scheme was lauded as a ‘once in a generation plan’ to incentivise the creation of new native woodland.


“Before applying for a grant, the landowner needs to ascertain if the land in question is suitable for woodland creation,” Mr Liebrecht says. “Landowners don’t tend to want to plant on prime agricultural land – they want to use less productive land, but as this is often more biodiverse it can mean there are more constraints against what it is used for.


“Once that is done, the landowner needs to apply to the Forestry Commission for approval for a grant – and no work can be carried out until that is secured.”


Mr Liebrecht says that most proposed schemes will secure approval eventually, especially if the landowner has employed the services of an agent to put the application together.


“The Forestry Commission has resources available and a genuine desire to achieve its ambition and plant more trees. The organisation is working hard to recruit more staff and streamline the application process – it’s understandable that a new scheme takes time to get off the ground,” he said.


“The key thing for applicants to remember is that there is currently a bottleneck which will take a while to clear, but that shouldn’t put people off.


“In spite of all the frustrations that people may be feeling, it’s a great time to plant trees. Applicants should manage their expectations accordingly – my advice is to plan ahead, act fast when you can, and be realistic about your timeframe.”




For further information, please contact:



Ben Pike / Eve Communications


07832168560 //



Philippa Murray, Head of Public Relations, Carter Jonas


020 7518 3206 // 07584 517 385 //


Notes to editors:


About Carter Jonas


Carter Jonas LLP is a leading UK property consultancy.  It is renowned for the quality of its service and expertise of its people. With a network of 33 offices across England and Wales, it employs more than 800 partners and staff. It helps its clients sell, let, manage and add value to their properties, whether they be residential homes, farms and estates, development land, offices, industrial or retail buildings.

More Press Releases