5 Dec 2023
Forestry grant rates increase to help tackle inflation
Scottish Forestry is increasing the level of forestry grant support to help counter recent inflationary pressures, particularly for smaller woodland creation projects.
The increase in forestry grants will rise by around 20% for planting most smaller scale woodlands.
The announcement comes in advance of the Woodland Creation Summit which is being chaired by Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon.
The summit is bringing together leaders from across the forestry, land-use, environmental and community sectors to work on further actions to boost woodland creation rates in Scotland.
Ms Gougeon said:
“As I set out in June when the national planting targets were published, I’m keen to provide more support to help address inflation costs as that is having a direct impact for many on their ability to start growing trees.
“With a large percentage of new woodlands being created by farmers and crofters it is important that we support them as best we can. This increase in grant support should help alleviate some of the rising costs for materials which has been a barrier for some.
“I’m looking forward to chairing the upcoming summit as it will provide an important platform in finding other practical ways to make a step change in increasing our future woodland creation levels.”
The increase in grant rates will include a number of new measures across the Forestry Grant Scheme. Some key new changes include:
- An extra £750 per ha for the first 40 ha of woodland creation in most parts of Scotland:
- Extending the high cost deer fencing option throughout Scotland – increasing this by £2.30 per metre to £9.90 per metre;
- Reducing the minimum specification for the small or farm woods option to make it more accessible to farmers and crofters wanting to plant woodlands of up to 10ha;
- Sheep and Trees schemes, which combines funding for woodland creation with forestry & farm road accesses, will now be allowed in the Central Scotland Green Network area: and
- Tripling the grant for manual or mechanical bracken control from £225 to £720 per ha.
Amongst the new measures to the Forestry Grant Scheme, is a doubling of the payment for expanding native woodland through natural regeneration. This new increased grant rate covers the whole of Scotland and now stands at £600 per hectare. This action will stimulate further woodland growth and help in the yearly native woodland targets set out in the Bute House Agreement.
The grants boost has been made as part of the delivery action plan announced in June which is aimed at ramping up tree planting levels.
Brendan Callaghan, Director of Operational Delivery at Scottish Forestry added:
“The Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) is a key driver in boosting tree planting and natural regeneration projects across the country.
“We have listened carefully to the responses in the recent forestry grant consultation and during our regular meetings with stakeholders. As a direct result, we have embarked on the most significant changes to the FGS since it was established in 2015 and plan to keep developing the scheme to support the growth of woodlands in Scotland.”
Scotland has ambitious woodland creation targets which are increasing each year, rising to 18,000 ha by 2024/5. This year so far, over 11,200 ha of forestry schemes have been approved for planting in 2023, exceeding last year’s total.
The Woodland Creation Summit is being held at Battleby in Perthshire on 12 December.
For technical details of the various grant changes, log on to the Scottish Forestry website.
Notes to News Editors
1. The extra £750 per ha for the first 40 ha of woodland creation in most parts of Scotland – this increase applies to all woodland creation options except native Scots pine, Native Low Density and native broadleaves in the Northern and Western Isles. The payment is capped at the first 40ha of planting and so the greatest benefit will be to woodlands less than 40 ha. However any size of application can apply for this the extra payment which will avoid inadvertently discouraging applications just over 40ha.
Previously the target area for the Northern and Western Isles was increased to the highest grant rate that Scottish Forestry offers and the Central Scotland Green Network area already receives this supplement and won’t be directly affected by the changes at this time.
2. Reducing the minimum specification for small or farm woods option to make it more accessible to farmers and crofters wanting to plant woodlands of up to 10ha. There will no longer be a requirement to plant a minimum of 20% of the area as productive broadleaves under this option. The planting can now comprise of diverse conifer, native broadleaves and open ground which is simpler and will cost farmers and crofters less to establish whilst still maintaining productivity.
3. Sheep and Trees – Farmers within the Central Scotland Green Network area (Core, Outer Core and Fringe area) who are planting between 10 and 50 hectares of productive woodland will now be eligible for support towards forest road access to help with future forestry and farm management. This support will now be available for farmers planting productive woodlands throughout Scotland.
4. Scottish Forestry recognises that not all woodland creation projects will benefit from these new changes and work is ongoing to continue to develop further FGS enhancements