Defra opens competition to identify new Forest for the Nation

08 February 2024

Environment and climate

Photograph: WTPL/Judith Parry

Applications are now open for Defra’s million-pound grant funding competition to identify a new Forest for the Nation.

Following the government’s COP28 nature announcement, Defra has launched a grant funding competition to establish a new Forest for the Nation in England.

Building upon the achievements of the National Forest in central England, the Forest for the Nation competition aims to help contribute towards government tree planting and net-zero targets, enhance public access to the countryside, and empower communities to take ownership of their local woodlands.

There will be one overall winner who will get up to £10 million to fund their project.

How to apply

The competition is open to anyone, with applicants encouraged to work together to develop bids. A local authority sponsor is also required.

Proposals can include:

  • woodland creation
  • expansion and connection of existing woodlands
  • improved woodland management for enhanced resilience and health.

The National Forest Company will help applicants to develop strong proposals and, if successful, create the new Forest for the Nation.

Stage 1

To apply you must submit an outline proposal with your vision for the Forest for the Nation on Defra’s commercial system, Atamis.

If you're not registered on Atamis, Defra has published guidance on how to make an account.

  • Submit an outline proposal with your vision for the Forest for the Nation.
  • Proposals should address success criteria (details to be provided at the competition’s opening).
  • Successful applicants may receive 16 weeks worth of grant funding for further proposal development for stage two.

Stage 2

Fully costed plans and a local authority sponsor are required for stage two proposals.

Proposals will be assessed against agreed outcome criteria, with the winning bid to be announced in autumn 2024.

More information on how to apply can be found at: GOV.UK | Forest for the Nation competition.

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