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Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister and Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change

First published:
23 June 2023
Last updated:

We are pleased to announce the launch of the National Forest for Wales Status Scheme, which will be live for applications from Friday 23 June 2023.

The National Forest for Wales will create the first country-level National Forest network in the world, including both state-owned and private woodlands. These woodlands will then generate connected ecosystems that will bring social, environmental and economic benefits to Wales. The National Forest will create a network of interconnected trails running the length and breadth of Wales. This will help to repair ecosystems resilience, increase biodiversity and create jobs and well-being. In the future, the National Forest can create opportunities to grow sustainably grown Welsh timber, whilst benefitting communities and nature.

The National Forest will support the Welsh Government’s actions to reduce the impacts of climate change. Wales needs a significant increase in woodland creation to reach our target of creating 43,000 hectares of woodland by 2030, and to reach our target of becoming a net zero nation by 2050.

The National Forest Status Scheme paves the way for woodlands that are not owned by the Welsh Government to become part of the National Forest. These could range from small areas of woodland in urban setting or on private land and farms, to community woodlands, to large areas of land owned by local authorities, charities or productive woodlands. Any landowner or manager will be able to apply to become part of the National Forest, any kind of well managed woodland will be eligible, and there will be no limit on the number of woodlands that can receive National Forest status. A team of six National Forest Woodland Liaison Officers is available to help landowners gain National Forest for Wales status.

Funding already exists to support the Status Scheme. The Woodland Investment Grant (TWIG) is a Welsh Government grant fund, delivered in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, that is designed to help woodland owners and manager to create and enhance woodlands to achieve National Forest status. In addition, after successful application to the Status Scheme, there will be signage available so that each new site will be recognised as part of the National Forest for Wales.

Alongside an initial 14 exemplar sites on the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, the remainder of the Welsh Government estate will be brought into the National Forest over the next three years.