Community and volunteer groups, town councils and individuals can apply for funding to increase tree numbers in urban areas of England, through small scale planting projects.
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund has been developed in response to the Government’s commitment to provide £10 million for planting trees in and around England’s towns and cities. The initiative supports the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and contributes to its pledge to plant one million urban trees by 2022.
Urban trees are said to offer a range of benefits, including temperature moderation, flood risk mitigation, and improved wellbeing – particularly when in close proximity to large populations. The support is being offered on a competitive basis, targeting projects providing the greatest environmental, social and economic benefits to towns and cities across the country – be it a street tree or a small community woodland.
In the current phase (year two – 2020/21), individual applications will be accepted for small, single planting sites of between 150 and 5,000 small trees. Applications that contain 500 or more trees are especially encouraged. Grants will fund the planting of trees and the first three years of their care to ensure they can flourish into the future. The grant can cover up to 50% of the standard costs for planting large and small trees and their establishment costs, eg weeding, watering and maintenance.
Applications will be accepted from community and volunteer groups, town councils and individuals wishing to plant trees in urban areas of England. Applicants must have full management control over the land or signed consent from those with such control.
Successful applicants will not be expected to plant their trees until the next tree planting season (winter 2020/21). The hope is that COVID-19 will not impact on tree planting activity. However, due to the group nature of this activity, the Forestry Commission will reassess this in the future to follow government guidelines.
The deadline for applications is currently set at 31 May 2020. However, given the current situation concerning the coronavirus outbreak, the Forestry Commission will keep this under review.