Forestry Commission Scotland has today (Friday 18 May) announced changes to Rural Priorities grant funding that aim to boost more planting of productive forests.
The move comes as overall planting rates continue to increase towards the target figure of 9,000ha per year through private planting.
The majority of planting activity (currently 75%) has been undertaken under the Native Woodland planting option in Rural Priorities. Effective from today, the changes will encourage more productive forestry, the sort that will yield a future timber harvest capable of sustaining and expanding Scotland’s forestry industry.
James Simpson, Head of Delivery & Regions, Forestry Commission Scotland said:
“The Scottish Government’s Rationale for Woodland Expansion suggested that about 60% of new woodland would be productive and 40% would be native. However, we are in a situation where 75% of new planting is native woodland and we need to balance this out further.
“Scotland’s forestry sector is a mainstay of our rural economy and sustaining that – and helping it to develop and take advantage of new opportunities – is vitally important.
“By helping to get more commercial planting underway, this move will ensure the long-term vitality and viability of a thriving and competitive industry.”
The main changes include:
• limiting Farmland Premium associated with Native Woodland planting option to 50 ha per application ; and
• proposals for the Central Scotland Mixed Woodland Option to be limited to a maximum area between 20 to 45 ha.
The changes will apply to all planting proposals that have not yet been formally submitted.
For more information and detail on the changes visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-8J9H8A
Notes to news editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government’s Environment & Forestry Directorate. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. For news, events and recreation information log on to www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests. For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotland.
3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.