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Six woodland creation and management projects across Perth and Argyll are delivering a host of environmental, recreational and business benefits – thanks to almost £600,000 of grant funding awarded over the past year.
The financial backing came from the Rural Priorities element of the Scottish Government’s Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP), administered by Forestry Commission Scotland.
SRDP aims to develop rural Scotland by supporting projects at a local and national level.
Environment & Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson, said:
"Increasing the level of forest cover in Scotland will deliver a wide range of benefits to landowners, communities, and to wildlife but most importantly it will help us to mitigate the effects of climate change.
"Private landowners have a significant part to play in helping us achieve this and I am pleased that landowners are taking advantage of the grant assistance available to them through the SRDP.
"These projects across Perth and Argyll are very good examples of the type of project that the forestry element of SRDP aims to support."
The awards and projects are:
£28,000 – to help an Aberfeldy based Forestry Contractor diversify and expand his existing forestry business by using specialised small scale forestry machinery to manage small and medium sized woods that were previously considered ‘uneconomic’. The expansion of the business may also create employment, will support local ‘downstream’ markets such as woodfuel and also result in improved biodiversity and forest habitat networks.
£148,000 - to assist in the planting of over 30 hectares of native woodland (mixed conifer/broadleaves) across 15 woodland areas at Kirkton of Mailer Farm, Perthshire, The new woodland - adjacent to Perth’s St Magdalene's Hill woodland - will create a carbon sink (helping achieve Scotland’s emissions reduction targets) and will enhance forest habitat networks and improve biodiversity.
£126,750 – as a contribution to the upgrading of 1670m of existing forest road - and the construction of 1660m of new forest road – by West Strone Forest Company . The new road – within West Strone Forest, 17 miles west of Dunoon – will make harvesting the forest economically viable and will minimise potential environmental impacts both by reducing extraction distance and diverting timber traffic from the fragile Otter Ferry minor public road on to the more suitable A8003.
£125,264 – to help improve public access at Woodland Trust Scotland’s 130ha mixed woodland site at Moncreiffe Hill, near Perth. As well as improving forest management, the grant support will also be used to upgrade paths, install interpretation and run woodland planting events.
£61,925 –to help improve mountain bike trails, which will additionally help to expand the existing, hostel, campsite and retail outlet run by community owned business, Comrie Croft Ltd., potentially doubling the number of employees from 5 to 11.
£106,000 – Awarded to Glencreran Estate to create over 22 ha of new native woodland, diversifying farm landscapes and benefiting biodiversity, access, landscape & water quality. The project will help meet Scotland’s woodland expansion and emissions reduction targets
For more information about Rural Priorities and the Forestry Challenge Funds, visit www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Rural/SRDP
Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 667,000 hectare national forest estate. Climate change is the biggest threat facing the planet and Scottish forestry is playing its part in helping tackle climate change. With trees naturally locking up carbon, they have a significant role in reducing the affects of climate change. The use of wood as a fuel will also help reduce harmful greenhouse emissions and the Commission is working hard to promote woodfuel developments across the country. Forestry Commission Scotland – in partnership with private landowners and managers - is continuing to protect, manage and expand Scotland’s forests and woodlands in a way which helps in the fight against climate change. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2) There are two challenge funds (Woods In and Around Towns and Forestry For People) administered by the Commission which come under the Scotland Rural Development Programme which provides a framework to deliver European and Scottish Government funding for social, economic and environmental benefits.
Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0131 314 6507