TOE2 and Network Rail are working together to offer an exciting funding opportunity for biodiversity in Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Biodiversity Projects


Stage 1 Biodiversity Offset
Proposal Application Form


This new funding is great news for the two counties.  Network Rail is making funds available for biodiversity following unavoidable habitat loss resulting from the electrification of the Great Western Railway line (for further information see FAQ's "Where has the funding come from" opposite).


The aim is to support biodiversity projects that provide long lasting improvements to wildlife habitats. We are looking for strategic projects which improve good quality areas by making them bigger and better connected to other wildlife sites and also to improve the quality of existing habitats, in line with the Oxfordshire’s State of Nature Report and Berkshire’s Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020.  We are looking to create new woodland, provide better links between woodlands, and to enhance existing woodland and scrub mosaic, though other habitats could be considered (ancient woodland is not eligible).


Parish councils, local charities and not-for-profit organisations, local authorities and landowners are all eligible to apply. The programme is to be delivered over a four-year period. Projects are expected between the range of £10,000 and £100,000. Stage 1 applications for outline project proposals can be received at any time.

Please contact us for more information and to discuss your project ideas – call on 01865 407003 or email

Click here to download the Stage 1.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where has the funding come from?

    Network Rail Infrastructure Projects (IP), the division responsible for delivering railway upgrades, is committed to a “measurable net positive contribution towards biodiversity in the UK”. No Net Loss to Biodiversity on the Greater West Programme (TGWP) is a pilot project, putting principle into practice by compensating for unavoidable habitat loss (mainly young semi-natural woodland and some scrub) during the electrification programme.


    Although scrub, grassland and other low-lying habitats will grow back where trees have been removed, there has been some unavoidable loss to biodiversity.  Funding is available for the creation and improvement of similar habitats to those that have been lost, including funds for up to three years aftercare, in the vicinity of the railway line, a process known as “biodiversity offsetting”.  This is a voluntary commitment by Network Rail, not bound to any planning obligations or client requirements.

  • What biodiversity projects are eligible?

    • Creating new woodland, providing better links and connectivity between woodlands, and enhancing existing woodland and scrub mosaic. Hedgerows, orchards and trees out of woodland are also eligible. Other habitats could also be considered as part of a broader tree/scrub focused project
    • Preference for large projects (e.g. 5ha woodland enhancement or 10ha new woodland planting) or clusters of smaller projects delivered by partnerships
    • A key aim is to improve good quality areas by making them bigger and better connected to other wildlife sites and to improve the quality of existing habitats, in line with the Oxfordshire State of Nature Report  ( and Berkshire’s Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020 (
    • Projects need to ensure lasting benefits to wildlife habitats, at least 30 years and beyond
    • Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) could be considered. Also the buffering of ancient woodlands or to connect ancient woodlands with other woodland sites
    • Please note that no ancient woodland has been affected by the work associated with the electrification of the Greater West Line


  • Where can projects be supported?

    The projects should be as local as possible to the railway line within the following local authority areas:• Oxford City• South Oxfordshire• Vale of White Horse• West Berkshire• Reading Borough• Wokingham Borough• Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

  • What is the timeframe?

    • The programme will be delivered over a four-year period
    • Stage 1 applications (outline project proposals) will be welcome from September 2017.
  • Who can apply?

    • Parish councils and other local authorities, local charities, not-for-profit organisations, and landowners
    • A collaboration of organisations would bring strength to a project
  • How will the process work?

    • TOE2 will reach out to potential applicants and promote the scheme
    • Stage 1 outline project proposals will be submitted to Network Rail at
    • Network Rail will review the Stage 1 proposals and draw up a shortlist, in collaboration with TOE2
    • Shortlisted projects will be invited to submit a Stage 2 detailed application to TOE2
    • TOE2 will process Stage 2 applications, organise assessments and consider them at quarterly Grant Panel meetings

© Trust for Oxfordshire's Environment (TOE2) 2015
Charity Number: 1140563

Our Funders include: Grundon Waste Management Ltd - Patsy Wood Trust – Oxfordshire County Council – Beatrice Laing Trust – Network Rail - TVERC