Rural Hub

Tree Health pilot scheme opens in England

3 mins

Land managers in England with trees or woodlands affected by some specific pests and diseases may be eligible to take part in a new pilot Tree Health Scheme.

The three-year pilot scheme will initially focus on tackling trees and woodland affected by ash dieback, Phytophthora ramorum in larch or sweet chestnut, sweet chestnut blight and spruce with or at risk of spruce bark beetle.

The support differs to that currently offered through the Countryside Stewardship Tree Health Grant, which continues to be open for applications. A significant difference is the pilot scheme offers support to tackle diseased and infested trees which are situated outside of woodlands, for example in hedgerows and by roads. It also offers more support for the felling of trees and new maintenance grants following restocking.

The pilot scheme will be open to about 100 people and groups in target areas of the North West, West Midlands, London and the South East of England.

Some of these will be invited to take part by the Forestry Commission, but Defra is also inviting landowners who think they may be eligible to submit an expression of interest.

Successful applicants will get a grant to help pay for some of the costs of carrying out work to remove and replace diseased trees.

Eligibility for Tree Health Scheme

The pilot is focusing on the following regions of England:

  • North West: primarily targeting Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Lake District National Park
  • South East and London: primarily targeting Kent and East Sussex
  • West Midlands: primarily targeting the Malvern Hills AONB and Shropshire Hills AONB

Defra has said it will consider expressions of interest from people outside a primary target area, but within an eligible region, if the application significantly contributes to the learning from the pilot.

If a landowner decides to submit an expression of interest, the Forestry Commission will carry out an initial assessment and site visit to assess the trees and woodland. It will decide if the applicant will be invited to make a full application.

Landowners should be aware that if the Forestry Commission find a notifiable pest or disease in any trees during a visit, the landowner may be issued with a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN). This means they will be legally required to deal with the pest or disease problem, even if they do not receive funding as part of the pilot.

What is eligible for funding?

The grant funding available does vary according to the tree species and activity, and may be based on a percentage of actual cost or a standard cost.

For example, there are no grants for felling trees with ash dieback, but support is available to help with 60% of the standard cost of road closures and with restocking and maintenance.

Up to £5,000/ha is available for restocking ancient woodlands, or £3,900/ha for other sites, plus a maintenance grant of £200/ha annually for three years. 

Applications for the ash dieback grant must also come from a group – for example a group of neighbouring landowners would need to apply together.

If you would like to know more about the scheme, contact Edward Daniels, Head of Forestry at John Clegg & Co, the forestry division of Strutt & Parker

3 mins

Related Articles


Why carbon isn’t the only reason we need more trees

Much has been said about the importance of trees for locking up carbon, but trees also have a crucial role to play as we try to transition away from carbon intensive building materials such as concrete and steel. The farming sector has done a lot of work to get the public to connect with where […]

Forestry sector counts the cost of Storm Arwen

Forest plantations across the UK have experienced significant damage due to Storm Arwen, which struck overnight on 26 November. Early indications are that in Scotland it is forests on the eastern side of the country which have been most impacted. While there have been reports of damage in Dumfries and Galloway and Perth and Argyll, […]

Unlocking income or capital from unmanaged woodlands

Unless you’ve been hiding under a stump you’ll know there’s been a lot of talk about planting trees in recent months, even Boris Johnson has been getting in on the act. This has been driven mainly by the recognition, that globally, society has a huge mountain to climb to get our greenhouse gas emissions, and […]

Top tips on unlocking opportunity on farms and estates

At this time of rapid change for the rural sector, it can feel very difficult to know where best to invest your time, energy and money within your business. Farmers and landowners are facing a barrage of new challenges from a variety of directions, including a changing policy framework, new environmental and property legislation, changing […]

Talk to us

Want to talk to us about our rural specialisms? Send us a message and we will make sure it gets to the right person.

Please write your name
Please write a message

Sign up

Sign up to be notified when we launch new publications so you’re always ahead of the research.

Please write your name
Please write a correct email address
Send me updates about
Please tick a box