5 NOVEMBER 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 14176
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Forestry Commission Scotland has strengthened its National Forest Land Scheme (NFLS), giving more opportunities for communities wanting to manage woodlands for local benefit.
One new measure designed to stimulate community scale renewables projects on the national forest estate is to give groups an 18 month period to prepare plans, before putting up the capital to buy the land.
As part of the revised suite of options under the NFLS, groups will also be able to lease national forest land with the rights to manage it for forestry purposes.
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:
"We have listened to our key community partners and their wish to develop new ways of managing woodlands for rural development.
“The Commission has acted on this and I’m pleased that these options are now open to communities across Scotland.”
The new renewables measure is an acknowledgement that, for many communities, taking on such an obligation can be a significant commitment, involving complex work during the development stage. Communities are now able to access the land to undertake feasibility work, but they would not need to purchase it until planning permission is secured.
Giving communities the power to lease land for forestry purposes adds to the ways in which community groups can get involved on the national forest estate. Other opportunities for involvement include volunteering; formal partnerships; leasing and owning woodland.
Under the leasing scheme, a community would have full responsibility for managing the forest sustainably and for public benefit for a minimum of 25 years.
For further information on the National Forest Land Scheme and additional opportunities to get involved, log on to www.forestry.gov.uk/communitiesscotland.
Notes to news editors
1. The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 allows Forestry Commission Scotland to delegate management functions to eligible community bodies. Previously, communities could lease land from the Commission if they wanted but did not have the rights to manage the woodlands for their own benefit.
2. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.