Last week was National Tree Week and as part of a cash boost to increase tree planting the government announced funding of £3.9 million for “innovative” tree planting. This is to help meet the government’s commitment to increase planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025. The intention is to see hundreds of thousands of new trees planted, outside woodlands and near rivers to reduce flood risk, using two pots of funding:

• £2.5 million to support schemes that establish new ways of planting trees in cities, towns and countryside. Led by Defra, Natural England and the Tree Council, this will use five pilot studies delivered by Local Authorities to develop cost-effective and innovative approaches to planting trees outside woodlands over the next two and a half years. This could include schemes such as community tree nurseries, agroforestry and hedgerow management, or planting trees from locally collected seed.

• £1.4 million awarded to the Environment Agency to fund ‘woodlands for water’ – 15 projects to plant over 850,000 trees to protect around 160km of river and help to reduce the risk of flooding to over 500 properties. Projects are intended to achieve aims such as improving water quality, acting as a buffer for agricultural pollution, reducing surface run-off, helping slow the flow of water and improving wildlife habitat and connectivity, as well as reducing flood risk. They aim to assist with reaching net zero and achieve the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan goals for nature through effective nature-based solutions.

It is expected that we will see a lot more such measures and schemes as net zero targets require to be met and in wider general support of the UK's 'green recovery'. We are seeing firsthand strong interest in a range of forestry and tree planting projects particularly in the context of carbon offsetting and biodiversity net gain.  If you are an organisation or landowner looking to invest in forestry or tree planting and would like some guidance on the associated contracts get in touch with our Net Zero team via the website.