Agriculture: Environment Protection

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 3 August 2021.

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Photo of Lord Carrington Lord Carrington Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government why it is necessary to terminate the whole of an existing agri-environment scheme if a part of that scheme is included in an application for the new English Woodland Creation Grant Offer.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We recognise that the absence of a widely available legal route to take land out of an existing Environmental Stewardship (ES) or Countryside Stewardship (CS) into a new England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) agreement without significant/full reclaim of payments is a blocker for some woodland creation applicants. We are looking at how we may be able to transfer land in CS or ES agreement to EWCO, where this results in an environmental gain.

We are actively exploring options to find a way forward for existing agreement holders. In the meantime, the guidance in the EWCO manual remains valid. We will provide an update to potential applicants as soon as we have made tangible progress via our gov.uk pages and the Forestry Commission's e-alert. We remain committed to trebling our tree planting rates in England as part of our commitment to plant 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by the end of this Parliament.

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