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This year the Welsh Government is introducing a new woodland creation offer to replace the Glastir Woodland Creation Scheme. The Woodland Creation Planning scheme offers grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to develop plans for new woodland creation.
Plans must be verified by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to make sure they meet the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). After a plan is successfully verified, it will be eligible for Welsh Government funding for tree planting.
You can apply for the funding using Rural Payments Wales’ online system, RPW Online. You will need to be registered as having management control of the land on RPW’s Manage My Land system before you apply. You will be able to make an application at any time in the year, provided budget is available.
If your application is selected, you will be required to use a registered woodland creation planner (registered planner) to create a plan on your behalf. We would recommend discussing your application with a registered planner before applying. You can also agree for the planner to make an Expression of Interest (EOI) on your behalf. Plans need to be submitted to RPW within 12 weeks of being selected.
After a plan is verified, it will be eligible to apply for future Welsh Government funding for five years from the date of verification. This will allow a land manager to apply for future windows of Welsh Government woodland creation funding without needing further verification, provided it is for planting on land successfully verified by NRW.
Your EOI must be for a woodland plan of at least 2 hectares size. We are considering a simplified process for areas of woodland which are less than 2 hectares and there will be opportunities to apply for funding for these projects later in 2022.
Funding for woodland creation will be available from August, with windows opening every 3 months from then onwards, subject to budget availability. The Welsh Government may also choose to change some of the details of this planning scheme in August, but we will ensure plans verified before categories are changed are still eligible to apply for funding.
Section A - Introduction
As part of our plan to tackle the climate emergency, Wales needs to plant 43,000 hectares of new woodland by 2030. To help achieve this, the Welsh Government is introducing a new woodland creation offer to replace the Glastir Woodland Creation scheme. The new offer will build on the Glastir scheme, but with a number of improvements to make it easier to interact with.
The new offer will be available consistently throughout the year. Separate funding is available for creating and verifying plans for new woodland creation. This will allow people to have more certainty about whether a project can go ahead and allow Welsh Government to be more agile in allocating funding.
Below is a step by step process for the new offer:
- Any eligible land manager in Wales is able to apply using RPW Online. You may choose to ask a registered woodland planner to apply on your behalf.
- Plans will be selected based on Woodland Opportunities Map scoring.
- Successful applicants must use a registered planner to complete a Woodland Creation Plan, which will be sent to NRW for verification to ensure it is in line with the UKFS.
- Once a plan has been successfully verified, land managers will be eligible to apply for Welsh Government funding for 5 years from the date of verification.
- Land managers will receive a payment of up to £5,000, based on the area of the plan. No payment will be made for plans which are not verified, although support will still be available for surveys which were required.
- Verified plans which meet one of the woodland categories supported will be eligible to apply for future Welsh Government funding for tree planting. The new scheme will be launched in August.
- Land managers will be responsible for informing RPW via their RPW Online account if they choose to plant the woodland without Welsh Government funding.
Section B – Eligibility
To apply for the scheme, you must have full management control of the land and retain management control until the claim is paid. You must have registered your land with the Rural Payments Wales Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) and have full management control of that land when you submit your application. You do not need to be a farmer to do this.
Your EOI must be for a woodland plan of at least 2 hectares of eligible land. We are considering a simplified process for areas of woodland which are less than 2 hectares and there will be opportunities to apply for funding for these projects later in 2022.
Land Eligibility requirements
Eligible land must:
- Be made up of field parcels that are 0.1ha or greater in area and located in Wales – the term field parcel does not mean that it must be agricultural land.
- Not be existing woodland, this includes areas shown on Forest Research’s National Forest Inventory - National Inventory of Woodland and Trees | DataMapWales (gov.wales)
If the land is registered common land, either consent must be granted under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 or written confirmation provided that consent under section 38 is not required by Welsh Ministers before submitting an EOI. Where consent is required, an approved Section 38 consent is required before submitting an EOI.
Section C – Your woodland plan
Once your plan is verified by NRW, you will be eligible to apply for Welsh Government funding for woodland creation for 5 years without further verification.
Verified plans which meet one of the woodland categories identified in Table 1 will be eligible to apply for future Welsh Government funding for tree planting. In future, the Welsh Government may choose to change the woodland categories, but we will ensure that plans verified before categories are changed are still eligible to apply for funding. Applicants may choose to complete a plan which does not fall into one of these categories, however this is unlikely to be able to apply for future funding.
|Enhanced Mixed Woodland||
|Native Woodland - Carbon||
|Native Woodland - Biodiversity||
|Agroforestry - scattered trees||
Checking your land is suitable for woodland creation
Before applying, we recommend checking the suitability of your land for tree planting through the Woodland Opportunities Map. This shows any constraints or sensitivities connected with a new planting site and is available here: Woodland Opportunities Map. Sensitivities do not always mean tree planting is not possible, but mean there are additional factors which need to be considered or consulted on. While the map cannot be definitive, it is helpful to indicate areas where there are likely to be sensitivities so you can consider and address these at the start of your planning.
We would also recommend speaking to a registered woodland planner, who can advise on the appropriate size, location and planting option for your proposals. Additionally, your registered planner can request that NRW carries out a pre-application desk check and/or site visit.
Minimum size of new planting
The minimum area of new planting to be eligible for support is 2 hectares. The new planting must be fenced and the design of the woodland must be consistent with UKFS. There is no limit on the maximum size.
You are not able to submit two EOIs for the same land holding per calendar year, so applications should use all of the areas on your land which you wish to plant. You are not required to apply for funding to plant the whole woodland plan at the same time, so are able to stagger it over time if you wish (provided each area meets the scheme requirements).
Scattered open ground can be included within the planting area up to a total of 15% of the total area. The area of un-plantable open ground has been increased from that allowable under Glastir Woodland Creation and can now measure up to 0.5ha. You will need to alter the tree spacing in parts of the site to account for un-plantable ground to ensure the required number of trees in the contract are planted (see Table 2).
|% open space||spacing m x m||Stems/ha in net area|
|% open space||spacing m x m||Stems/ha in net area|
Existing scattered trees and shrubs
Existing scattered trees and shrubs have a high environmental value and should not be cleared for new planting, but should be incorporated in the planting design. Woody shrubs and scattered trees need to be mapped out if the area is more than 0.5ha.
Sources of other funding
When applying for funding for a woodland creation plan you will need to consider whether you would be eligible to receive funding for future tree planting.
If you have a Glastir Advanced (GA) or Glastir Organic contract with the Welsh Government on the same land, you will need to consider the following:
If planting is to take place before the expiry of the GA contract, any area of management option within a parcel will not be available for planting. Only the remaining area, not under a management option, can be considered under a planting proposal.
If planting is to take place after the expiry of a GA contract, the whole parcel can be submitted, scored and considered for selection. If selected and a subsequent plan is verified, no planting preparation works that could damage the management option, whilst being supported under the GA contract.
Any works undertaken that would breach the active GA contract could result in penalties being applied to any payment claims being made in respect of that option
Where you have land under a Glastir Organic contract, you must request the removal of the land from the Glastir Organic contract via your RPW online account. Subject to approval from the Welsh Government, the land will be removed from your Glastir Organic Contract and planting can only commence after the removal has taken place.
Section D – Available funding
A minimum £1,000 grant will be paid for each completed Woodland Creation Plan. For areas of woodland over 20 hectares, £50 per whole hectare will be paid, up to a maximum of £5,000 per plan, to include any specialist surveys. For example, a plan of 15 hectares would receive a payment of £1,000, and a plan of 35.5 hectares would receive a payment of £1,750 (£1,000 + (15 x £50)).
The plan needs to be successfully verified by NRW before payment can be claimed. If the plan is not successfully verified, no payment will be made, although support for specialist surveys can still be claimed. The eligible area for payment will be the final verified plan area, as verified by NRW. This may differ from the area submitted in the EOI if changes take place during verification. Areas of open space greater than 0.5 hectare should not be included when calculating the area of the woodland.
If a specialist habitat or species survey is required as part of developing the plan, you can claim 80% of the cost of this survey in addition to your claim for support for the plan. For surveys with a total cost of less than £5,000 you will be required to submit one quote. For any surveys with a total invoiced cost of between £5,000 and £24,999 you will be required to submit three quotes for the survey to demonstrate value for money. Payment will be based on 80% of the lowest quote. Specialist surveys can be claimed for the following:
- Bat survey
- Peat Survey
- Breeding birds
- Vegetation / habitats
The maximum grant that can be claimed (including any specialist survey) is £5,000.
You will not be able to claim for any survey that has been paid for prior to successful selection of your EOI.
Section E – How to Apply
The EOI for the Woodland Planning Scheme is available via Rural Payments Wales (RPW) Online If you’re not already registered, further detail is included below on how to register.
Submitting an application
You must complete an EOI for the Woodland Creation Planning Scheme via your RPW online account. If you already have a Customer Reference Number (CRN) you should have received a letter informing you of your Activation Code to set up your account. If you no longer have this, please telephone the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004 and tell the operator your CRN. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh. They will send you a new Activation Code.
To register your business details for the first time, you need to complete the online registration form. Please refer to the how to register guidance for further details. The vast majority of changes to business details can be done online. However, the Welsh Government may require further details on any major changes. Please contact the Customer Contact Centre for further information
Once registered, you can access your RPW Online account. The Woodland Creation Planning Scheme EOI is available from the “Applications and Claims” section of your account.
Agents acting on your behalf will need to register as a Rural Payments Wales agent. If you have yet to do this you are advised to complete an online or paper copy Agent / Farming Union Customer Details (Wales) form immediately. The form is available on the Welsh Government website. Upon receipt of the form, we will send you an Agent Customer Reference Number (Agent CRN) and an RPW Online Activation Code. You will also need to complete an Association Authorisation Form which can be completed once you register with RPW Online, please refer to our how to register guidance.
If you have any questions about registering for RPW Online or completing your EoI, please contact the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh. They will be able to provide advice, including the digital assistance that is available to you.
Further details regarding RPW Online are available on the Welsh Government Website.
Every 6 weeks, the Welsh Government will score EOIs. If there is not enough budget to offer funding to every EOI, the EOIs which score the highest will be offered funding. This is the same approach which will be taken for allocating funding for woodland creation. There is no minimum score to receive funding, as even areas outside of high scoring areas are likely to contain suitable sites for woodland creation which will provide public benefits. If your EOI is not selected, we will keep it under consideration for future funding unless you choose to withdraw it.
The score is calculated based on the field parcel boundaries included in your EOI and a number of data layers which score each area of Wales based on the potential of woodlands to provide benefits to the public, such as capturing carbon, preventing flooding and improving air quality. You can find these data layers in Woodland Opportunities Map and check how your EOI is likely to score.
Once selection has taken place, a message will be sent to your RPW online account confirming whether you have been selected. If you have not been successful, we will explain the reason on your RPW online account. If your EOI is selected, you will be invited to submit a Woodland Creation Plan for verification.
Section F – Submitting the Woodland Creation Plan
If you have been successful, you will need to engage a registered woodland planner to complete a Woodland Creation Plan. A list of registered woodland planners can be found at Rural grants and payments | Sub-topic | GOV.WALES.
The woodland planner will write a Woodland Creation Plan which sets out the proposal for the new woodland and how it will be implemented in line with UKFS. The plan must be submitted within 12 weeks of your selection. If plans are not submitted within 12 weeks, your selection will be cancelled and you will need to wait 12 months before making a further application from the date of cancellation. If you are required to undertake a survey which is not possible within 12 weeks an extension may be provided.
Included in your selection correspondence will be a shapefile which includes the land parcels validated in your EOI which your registered planner will need to use in compiling your plan.
The shapefile will need to be amended with your planting and fencing intentions by your registered planner via their Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The updated shapefile will need to be returned to the Welsh Government via your RPW Online account alongside the completed plan and all other supporting documentation.
The woodland creation plan templates and guidance and mapping guidance will be available on RPW online. We are unable to accept alternative plan templates and maps which, if submitted, will render your EOI ineligible.
Your fully completed plan and shapefile must be submitted to Welsh Government via your RPW Online account. Your plan will the be sent to NRW to complete verification to ensure it meets the UKFS. You can find more detail about this below.
Prior to submission, you, or an authorised agent acting on your behalf, and your registered planner must sign the completed plan. When signing your plan declaration, you must ensure the plan is fully completed in all respects and accurately reflects your intended planting proposals. Failure to meet these requirements could result in the plan being rejected by the Welsh Government.
Your registered planner can request that NRW carries out a desk-based check and a follow-up accompanied site visit prior to submitting the completed plan to the Welsh Government. You should discuss the feedback with your registered planner before deciding whether to submit the completed Woodland Creation Plan.
Section G – NRW verification
NRW will check that the Woodland Creation Plan complies with the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). If the Woodland Creation Plan does not meet these requirements, NRW will return it to the registered planner for changes.
UK Forestry Standard
The UK Forestry Standard is the UK’s standard for sustainable forestry. Detail about it can be found on the Forest Research website: The UK Forestry Standard - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Some areas of Wales contain sensitivities which require special consideration and consultation when designing Woodland Creation Plans. NRW guidance for woodland planners on these can be found here: Natural Resources Wales / Glastir Woodland Creation Planners’ Guide. In verifying plans, NRW are required to meet their Sustainable Management of Natural Resources objective. The Welsh Government has provided guidance on how this applies to woodland, which can be found here: Woodland creation: evidencing delivery of Sustainable Management of Natural Resources | GOV.WALES.
There should be no planting of larch, ash or other species at immediate risk of disease within the plan.
The plan must not involve the growing of Christmas trees or a short rotation biomass crop. Christmas trees may not be used as a nurse crop. Short rotation means less than 8 years.
The UK Forestry Standard sets out that statutory and public consultation is an important aspect of woodland creation proposals.
The Welsh Government requires consultation with a number of mandatory consultees, if a sensitivity falls within or adjacent to the proposed woodland creation area. The woodland planner will be required to provide responses from mandatory consultees as part of the plan (or evidence that they have not responded within 28 days).
Planners will also need to provide consent from relevant organisations when planting within a designated site, such as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or near a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM). You may also need to obtain other consents if your planting proposal has a potential impact on a feature such as a protected species or water body. NRW Guidance note GN002 provides information and advice on who and at which stage of the process this should be carried out.
Contacting interested neighbours at an early stage of the woodland creation planning process is an opportunity to provide information on the proposal and avoid potential conflicts. This should include consultation with any individuals whose properties adjoin the new planting. A public participation event is recommended for woodland creation schemes, especially schemes located close to a community.
If the woodland creation scheme is over the Environmental Impact Assessment threshold, you or the woodland planner must inform the Community or Parish Council about your woodland scheme at the earliest opportunity. It is also recommended you also consult with interested parties e.g. local angling associations and ‘friends of’ community groups. Erecting posters at key access points or in local shops/post offices is another effective way of demonstrating public engagement.
All public consultation must be completed before a plan is submitted. The Welsh Government and NRW will not consult third parties directly, except where outstanding public participation concerns could not be resolved. You, or the registered planner working on your behalf, must include a report on public participation alongside the plan. This should highlight when you or the woodland planner consulted with interested individuals or parties, how they were consulted (e.g. public event, flyers, door to door), how long the consultation ran and who responded. NRW must be provided with evidence that a reasonable and proportionate attempt has been made to contact relevant individuals, such as sending a letter and allowing 28 days for response.
Where interested party concerns cannot be addressed prior to submission, they should still be submitted with the plan, along with the reasons for being unable to address them. As part of the verification process, NRW will consider the concerns and will, possibly in discussion with others, advise whether the concern is valid or not.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
The Environment Impact Assessment (Forestry) regulations mean all Woodland Creation Plans at or over the EIA threshold require an EIA (Forestry) opinion from NRW before new planting can go ahead. Once verification has been completed, the Woodland Programme Team will automatically pass your plan and any supporting documents to the NRW Permitting Service, who will assess the project and aim to inform you of your decision as to whether your project would require EIA consent within 28 days.
Any breach of Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) Regulations between the submission of the EOI and contract start may result in the offer of a contract being withdrawn. Any environmental damage may also be referred to the relevant authority in cases of suspected breaches of regulations.
Variations of rules
There may be occasions where there are good environmental and forestry reasons for taking an alternative approach to standard rules, for example changing locations of fencing to incorporate hedgerows as part of woodland plantations. In these cases, the intention to take an alternative approach must be clearly recorded on the woodland plan so it can be verified by NRW as being justified by sustainable forestry practice. The amount of fencing applied must not be longer than the perimeter of the planting polygon.
Section H – Claiming
Woodland Creation Plan
Once your Woodland Creation Plan is successfully verified by NRW, the verified plan will be sent to you via your RPW online account. A claim form will be sent to you via your RPW online account to complete. Once received, your claim will be validated and processed and, if eligible, payment will be processed and issued via BACS.
Payment will only be made if the completed plan has been successfully verified by NRW. The amount paid will be based on the final area of woodland in the plan after verification has taken place.
Support for the cost of a specialist survey undertaken following selection may be considered where a plan is not verified by NRW. Where a plan is not submitted or not verified by NRW, the applicant will need to contact the Welsh Government via their RPW Online account to request a claim form.
All claims for specialist surveys will need to be accompanied by an invoice and bank statement to evidence of defrayment.
Section I – Evaluation and Record Keeping
You must keep all records and information you need to evidence that you have provided complete and accurate information.
Following the sale or transfer of land that forms part of the verified plan, for planting to take place by the new occupier, the Welsh Government must be informed prior to an application for planting costs being made. The Welsh Government are not able to share a copy of the woodland plan with a land manager who is not the original applicant.
Section J - Appeals
There are no grounds for appeal if your Expression of Interest is not selected.
The appeals process in Wales allows you access to a two-stage appeals procedure if you feel that the Welsh Government did not reach the correct decision according to the rules for the Woodland Creation Planning scheme.
The appeals process consists of two stages:
- Stage 1: review by Rural Payments Wales
- Stage 2: review by an Independent Appeals Panel (if you are dissatisfied with the Stage 1 response). The Independent Panel make recommendations to the Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd who then makes the final decision.
The appeals process is concluded after the Minister’s decision has been issued. There is no charge for Stage 1 of the process, but there is a charge at Stage 2 - £50 for a written hearing or £100 for an oral hearing. These charges are repaid in full if the Stage 2 appeal is either partially or fully successful.
You must appeal by completing the new appeals form available on your RPW Online account within 60 days of the date of a decision.
Further details of the appeals process can be obtained from the Customer Contact Centre or by visiting the Welsh Government website.
Section K – Complaints
Complaints will be dealt with under the Welsh Government’s Code of Practice on Complaints. Further advice on how to make a complaint can be obtained from the Customer Contact Centre.
You may also choose to contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales:
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae
Tel: 0300 790 0203
Section L - Privacy notice - Welsh Government grants
How we will handle any personal data you provide in relation to your grant application or request for grant funding.
The Welsh Government will be data controller for any personal data you provide in relation to your grant application or request for grant funding. The information will be processed as part of our public task (i.e. exercising our official authority to undertake the core role and functions of the Welsh Government) and will help us assess your eligibility for funding.
Before we provide grant funding to you, we undertake checks for the purposes of preventing fraud and money laundering, and to verify your identity. These checks require us to process personal data about you to third party fraud prevention agencies.
If we, or a fraud prevention agency, determine that you pose a fraud or money laundering risk, we may refuse to provide the grant funding you applied for, or we may stop providing existing grant funding to you.
A record of any fraud or money laundering risk will be retained by the fraud prevention agencies, and may result in others refusing to provide services, financing or employment to you.
In order to assess eligibility we may also need to share personal information relating to your application with Regulatory authorities, such as Natural Resources Wales, HM Revenue and Customs, Local Authorities, Health and Safety Executive and the Police.
Your information, including your personal information, may be the subject of a request by another member of the public. When responding to such requests the Welsh Government may be required to release information, including your personal information, to fulfil its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Environmental information Act 2004 or the Data Protection Act 2018.
We will keep personal information contained in files in line with our retention policy. If successful in your application then your personal data will be kept for 10 years from the conclusion of any aid award. If you are unsuccessful, your details will be kept for one year after the date you provided them.
Under the data protection legislation, you have the right:
- to access the personal data the Welsh Government holds on you;
- to require us to rectify inaccuracies in that data;
- to (in certain circumstances) object to or restrict processing;
- for (in certain circumstances) your data to be ‘erased’;
- to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who is the independent regulator for data protection.
For further details about the information the Welsh Government holds and its use, or if you want to exercise your rights under the GDPR, please see contact details below:
Data Protection Officer:
Contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office:
Tel: 01625 545 745 or 0303 123 1113
If you have any queries regarding this privacy statement please contact the RPW Customer Contact Centre.
Section M – Contact Details
RURAL PAYMENTS WALES
PO Box 251
Tel: 0300 062 5004. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.
Other useful contacts:
For general enquiries (EIA, SSSI, NNR, SAC or SPA)
NATURAL RESOURCES WALES
c/o Customer Care Centre
29 Newport Rd
Tel: 0300 065 3000
General enquiries: 0300 065 3000 (Mon-Fri, 8am - 6pm)
General Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
For NRW enquiries:
For Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) / registered parks and gardens:
Unit 5/7 Cefn Coed
Tel: 01443 33 6000. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.
Fax: 01443 33 6001
For unscheduled ancient monuments or historic features:
Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust
41 Broad Street
tel: 01938 553670
fax: 01938 552179
Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
tel: 01792 655208
fax: 01792 474469
Dyfed Archaeological Trust
6 Carmarthen St
Tel: 01558 823121
Fax: 01558 823133
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Tel: 01248 352535
Fax: 01248 370925