Forestry Commission logo

Our work with the European Union

Our work with the European Union

Under the Common Agricultural Policy, the European Union (EU) has introduced a range of funding schemes to support agriculture. A proportion of funds that were previously given in direct support of agricultural production has been reallocated to support the new Rural Development Regulation (RDR). The RDR provides support for a number of measures including Forestry.

Rural Development Regulation (RDR) and Rural Development Plans (RDPs)

Each Member State has a Rural Development Plan (RDP) that sets out how the RDR will be applied. There are separate RDPs for England, Scotland and Wales.

EC Funding

  • The majority of EU funds to support forestry are delivered through the grants paid under each country's grant schemes
  • This financial support comes from the European Agriculture Guarantee and Guidance Fund (EAGGF)
  • The Guarantee part of the fund supports agricultural incomes (e.g. through guaranteed prices)
  • The Guidance part of the fund (also called Structural Funding) is paid within defined Objective areas.

EU Objective Areas

The RDR specifies geographical Areas to which Structural Funds are targeted, to achieve various Objectives. Not all of the UK is in Objective Areas.

  • Objectives are mutually exclusive - i.e. an area can get Objective 1 funding, or Objective 2 funding, but not both
  • Objective Area status applies for a specified date range (e.g. 1994-1999)
  • Objective Areas are defined in terms of geographical areas (NUTS4 units)

Objective 1
This provides high levels of support to raise the wealth creation capacity of targeted regions. It usually applies to areas where wealth creation per head (per capita Gross Domestic Product) is less than 75% of the European average. The aim is to promote the development and structural adjustment of these regions in order to speed up their economic growth.
In GB - Highlands, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Cornwall, West Wales.

Objective 2
This helps areas hardest hit by industrial decline to create a new economic base. These are areas where the unemployment rate is higher than the European average or the proportion of people employed in industrial jobs is above the EU norm.
In GB - various areas - e.g. Lomond area of Argyll Council; parts of North Wales.

Extra funds

The RDR allows EU Member States to redirect a proportion of the payments intended to directly support agricultural production, and to use it for schemes that are eligible under the RDR. This allows more funding to be available for forestry.



Last updated: 6th June 2016

What's of interest

Related pages