Forest for the Nation competition applications closed

22 March 2024

Environment and climate

Photograph: WTPL/Judith Parry

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

Following the government’s COP28 nature announcement, Defra 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.

Applications have now closed. Winners will be contacted in autumn 2024.

Who could apply?

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

Proposals included:

  • 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 one

Stage one opened for applications on 3 February 2024 and will closed at 10am on 18 March 2024.

To apply you must have submitted 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 two

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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This page was first published on 08 February 2024. It was updated on 22 March 2024.

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