Urban Tree Challenge Fund reopens for applications

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Following the success of the first two rounds where a combined total of up to 134,000 new trees will be planted across England’s towns and cities, the Urban Tree Challenge Fund has re-opened for applications.

Anyone can apply for the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, if you either have full management control over the land or signed consent from those with management control over the land for the duration of the agreement.

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith commented on the announcement: “I am delighted to announce the reopening of this hugely successful fund, made possible by £6 million from our Nature for Climate Fund.

“Ahead of our forthcoming ambitious action plan for trees, woodland and forestry, and to complement our manifesto ambition to have every new street lined with trees, the Urban Tree Challenge Fund provides a fantastic example of how trees can be planted, managed and enjoyed to provide the greatest impact – in areas where they are needed most.”

Evidence from Forest Research shows the majority of adults surveyed agreed that their level of happiness when in nature has increased compared to before the pandemic.

The new trees are also set to play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, supporting the UK commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025.

The announcement comes ahead of the government setting out its wider plans on how it intends to deliver on its tree-planting commitment.

A new action plan for trees and woodland is set to be published shortly to outline how government will plant new high-quality, well-managed trees and woodlands and improve the condition and resilience of existing ones.

Forestry Commission Chair, Sir William Worsley, added: “The pandemic has shown us just how important trees and nature are, wherever you live.

“Through targeting funding toward areas where they will have the biggest benefits, including near healthcare and educational facilities, this fund will deliver increased benefits for health and wellbeing, as well as contributing towards the government’s ambition to increase woodland creation across England.”

Over the next two years, up to £6 million will be available for planting in addition to necessary maintenance payments.

The grants are administered by the Forestry Commission, and successful applicants are match-funding the money they receive.

Grants will fund the planting of trees and the first three years of their care to ensure they can flourish into the future.

A new £1 million Woods into Management Innovation Fund is also due to open in May, which will focus on improving the condition of existing woodlands.

The aim of this scheme, as part of government’s Nature for Climate Fund, is to increase the area of woodland in active management to improve their ecological condition, help them adapt to a changing climate and recover from the impacts of pests and diseases.

The scheme is aimed at forestry businesses and conservation organisations who are in a position to help owners better manage their existing woodlands.

The application window for Urban Tree Challenge Fund is now open, closing at at 23:59 on 25th of July 2021.

More information about the Urban Tree Challenge Fund and how to apply is available on the Government website.