9 Feb 2021
Temporary arrangements for forestry grants during Covid
During the current COVID pandemic, Scottish Forestry is prioritising its resources to best support the sector and as a result will be implementing some temporary measures.
The focus will be on dealing with existing grant applications, paying claims and taking forward felling permissions, which are important in order to maintain a supply of timber to the industry.
As part of the new measures, there will be a temporary pause of six weeks from the 9th February to 22 March on processing new forestry grant scheme applications.
All applications that were submitted before 9th February will be processed as normal.
The measures are needed as there has been an unprecedented increase in woodland creation applications, up 33% on the previous year. Added to this, the on-going COVID situation has put tremendous extra pressure on Scottish Forestry teams.
Brendan Callaghan, Head of Operational Delivery at Scottish Forestry said:
“Despite the on-going pandemic, our staff have shown great resilience and flexibility and provided an impressive level of service.
“However, with the Covid restrictions, and a dramatic increase in woodland creation applications, we need to re-prioritise our workload.
“By taking this action now we will be able to carry out the most important areas of work and continue to support the industry.”
Scottish Forestry will review the temporary measures in a month’s time.
The short term measure does not affect future Scottish Government woodland creation targets or the payment of grants. Scottish Forestry staff have worked through the COVID pandemic at a record rate, already approving more than the 12,000 ha a year target and with 50% of the following year’s target achieved.
A full briefing note is available here.