New government funding to support tree planting in English towns and cities is a welcome step forward in the urgent move towards urban greening, according to Mark Townsend of Savills forestry, woodland and arboriculture team.

In 2018, the treasury announced £10 million would be made available for at least 130,000 trees and, over the next two years, the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund will offer grants of up to 50% of the cost of planting schemes.

Year one is open only to block bids which cover multiple projects under one application with a value of at least £500,000. Much smaller, individual applications will be considered next year although would-be applicants can express their interest now and be kept up to date. This year’s application window closes at midnight on 28 July.

Mark Townsend said: “This funding is good news as the need to improve the urban environment through greening initiatives is a major challenge and planting more trees is critical in delivering this. It’s an issue that was highlighted in the Savills and David Harber Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.”

“The funding is competitive and bids have to be scored according to set priorities and value for money so applications need to be thorough and well thought through.”

Details of the fund are available on For more information and woodland advice in both urban and rural areas contact Mark Townsend at Savills Petworth 01798 345 980.