A new grant to help promote the creation of productive woodlands is set to be piloted throughout 2012.
The new Forest Planning grant – focusing on productive conifers but also available for productive broadleaves – will be administered by Forestry Commission Scotland.
It will be available for planting proposals for 30 hectares or more and will be paid a the rate of £100/ha with a maximum payment of £20,000.
Minister for the Environment & Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson, said;
“Scotland’s forest industries link communities and businesses across the country and are an integral element of our rural economy. In a difficult economic climate the sector is thriving and is winning a bigger UK market share and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that this strength and vitality persists through the years ahead.
“We have listened to the industry’s concerns and we are introducing this grant to stimulate productive conifer planting to so that in years to come, Scotland’s forest industries can rely on a secure supply of raw material.”
The grant aims to encourage proposals that take account of local issues and that are well integrated with other land objectives so as to secure multiple benefits. It will also help boost productive conifer planting and contribute to ongoing efforts to increase Scotland’s woodland cover to 25% during the second half of this century.
Colin Mann, chairman of Confor, said
“It is vital for the future health of Scotland’s important forestry and wood-using industry that we provide a consistent supply of wood. We face a one-off shortfall in wood in the 2030s and 2040s and Confor has pressed for the planting of 6-9,000 hectares of productive woodland each year to 2020. This planning grant will help us achieve that, alongside further improvement to the process of approving applications to plant trees”
The grant will trial from January 2012 for an initial 12 month period before being assessed and reviewed.
For more information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-8J9H8A
Notes to editors:
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate, managing, protecting and enhancing the 660,000 hectare national forest estate in ways that deliver benefits to Scotland’s people, communities, biodiversity and economy. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2) The new grant will contribute to the costs of undertaking special assessments in the preparation of sensitive and well balanced productive planting proposals for the three productive planting options under Rural Priorities (Productive Conifer - Low Cost / Productive Conifer - High Cost / Productive Broadleaf Woodland). The Grant will contribute to the costs of the collection and analysis of site information, landscape design assessment and analysis, historic and cultural assessment and determining stakeholder Interests.
3) Upon successful application, 50% of the grant will be payable at ‘ RDC Confirmed’ and the remaining 50% at completion of planting. The grant is provided through ‘de minimus’ State Aids.
4) At the moment around 73% of new planting is native woodland and only 18% is productive conifer.