The Delivery Plan for our Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forest produced by the Forestry Commission and Natural England includes the objective to create new woodland in priority areas.
The English Woodland Grant Scheme administered by the Forestry Commission offers incentives to landowners to encourage them to plant trees. These grants are part of the Rural Development Programme for England 2007-13. Under the scheme rules it is not permissible to reimburse costs of land acquisition, but the grants do cover a proportion of the planting costs and the agricultural income foregone. The current target for new woodland creation is 2,200 hectares per year of which 2,000 hectares are expected to be on agricultural land.
In the 2009 Low Carbon Transition Plan we set out our intention to support a new drive to encourage private funding for woodland creation and options to achieve this are being explored by the Forestry Commission and DEFRA.
We are not taking any steps to encourage the Forestry Commission or other landowners to reduce the number of trees planted per hectare and there is no reason to do so. The English Woodland Grant Scheme, administered by the Forestry Commission and which supports most new woodland creation, allows for trees to be planted at a range of densities depending on the purpose of the woodland. These include densities as low as 100 trees per hectare for ‘special’ broadleaves such as poplar, ranging through 1,600 trees per hectare for native woodlands and up to 2,250 trees per hectare for ‘standard’ woodlands.