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A new window for Welsh woodland creation grants opened on 30 September.

The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw), the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity has welcomed the doubling of the funds available for new woodland creation in Wales and is encouraging farmers to take up this opportunity.

Between 30 September and 8 November landowners in Wales will have the opportunity to apply for grant funding for tree planting through Glastir Woodland Creation. In all, £2m is available. The Welsh Government Minister Lesley Griffiths doubled the sum available earlier this year, in recognition that Wales needs to plant more new woodland to meet its greenhouse gas targets.

Sharon Thomas, the Woodland Trust’s woodland outreach manager for Wales says: “This is a great opportunity for farmers in Wales. I strongly welcome the increase in funding and hope that these grants can be delivered without unnecessary bureaucracy.

"Native trees can offer us so many benefits, reducing flood risk, improving water quality, improving biosecurity and providing superb habitats for wildlife, as well as a renewable source of valuable timber. At a time when, sadly, there is huge uncertainty around farming in Wales, the Glastir Woodland Creation scheme offers a great opportunity to farmers and other landowners to make use of all of their land in ways that are sustainable both economically and environmentally.

"Glastir Woodland Creation grants can amount to up to £9,000 per hectare. The Woodland Trust can offer free advice and support in making use of these, and we’re finding there is an increasing interest in this among landowners. There’s more about the help we can offer landowners online at: woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees”

The Welsh Government’s Woodlands for Wales Strategy, launched last year, aspires to increase woodland cover in Wales by at least 2,000 ha a year from 2020 to 2030. It proposes an increase in tree cover in the wider environment, on farms, the rural landscape and in areas around towns and cities, both to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and also to create a resilient and productive agriculture and towns that are healthier and more pleasant to live in. The Glastir Woodland Creation grants are intended to encourage landowners to help deliver this.

Tree planting for biosecurity

One farmer who has already taken advantage of the scheme and who would recommend it to others is David Wright. He farms the 150 acre Tyllys farm, surrounding the medieval Tretower Castle in Powys. He keeps 50 suckler cows and followers and about 200 breeding ewes. He can now be rather more confident about the biosecurity of the farm, having created a woodland barrier around it, taking advantage of the Welsh Government’s Glastir Woodland Creation grant.

“A lot of people say they want to do the right thing for the environment, but not that many do anything about it”, says Mr Wright. “I worked out that the average person would have to plant 5,000 trees to make up for their personal carbon footprint. So I planted twice that. What’s more, I now have a 9 metre woodland barrier around the farm so there’s no chance of disease getting through.”

In all, Mr Wright planted 11,500 trees across ten acres of land this February: oak, alder, cherry, birch, hazel and some hawthorn and dogwood. He would like to plant even more trees along the river bank to reduce the risk of erosion, but this has been delayed due to additional work to the river bank that would have been required first as a condition of the grant.

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Notes to editors

For media enquiries contact Rory Francis at roryfrancis@woodlandtrust.org.uk or the Woodland Trust press office on 01476 581121 / media@woodlandtrust.org.uk

Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims: i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 28,000 hectares. These include over 100 sites in Wales, with a total area of 2,897 hectares (7,155 acres). It offers free public access to nearly all of its sites. The Trust’s Welsh language name, “Coed Cadw”, is an old Welsh term, used in medieval laws to describe protected or preserved woodland.