A new scheme has been announced, offering landowners thousands of pounds for creating new woodlands that boosts wildlife.

Payments will be extended to natural regeneration, whereas previously payments were only for tree planting.

The government announced the grants this week, in which it said £1.6bn of annual subsidies were enabled from Brexit.

Sir William Worsley, the chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “From planting a small one-hectare block, a strip of trees along rivers to reduce flood risk, to large mixed woodlands, this improved grant gives everyone the opportunity to see woodland creation as a financially and environmentally rewarding option. This will help with our journey to reach net-zero by 2050.”

Guy Shrubsole from Rewilding Britain commented: “At last the government has seen the wood for the trees and will be funding farmers and landowners to allow the natural regeneration of tree saplings. Whilst tree planting has its place, allowing trees to re-seed is often a much better way to create natural, species-rich scrub and woodland habitats.”

“But the devil will be in the detail. If the Forestry Commission restricts public funding for natural regeneration to only a short distance from a seed source, as has been rumoured, that will artificially constrain what nature can do,” he added.

The government has also pledged £500m to fund trees and woodlands in the future, as well as pledge to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares a year across the UK by 2025.