Following this spring’s consultation on the future of forestry grant support, the results are now in - a total of 187 responses were received, from organisations and individuals across a broad spectrum of respondent profiles, and these responses will form part of the design process determining the future of forestry grant support in Scotland moving forward.
Key findings from this consultation included:
- A strong desire to retain a discrete forestry grant scheme with overall grant support.
- A desire for alignment of forestry grants with other policy areas, and further integration with other areas including agriculture.
- A desire for policy clarity.
- A need for increases in grant funding levels to match capital outlays, and match inflation & increasing prices.
- A consensus for the application process to be “simple, easy to access, easy to understand and geared towards all potential applicants”.
Speaking from the National Forestry Stakeholder meeting in October, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon welcomed the findings:
“Our forests and woodlands are very important to Scotland in that they provide a range of benefits to the environment, economy and to our communities.
The Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) is a key catalyst for increasing woodland cover and as a scheme it needs to evolve so that it is working well and delivering on our priorities.
The analysis has demonstrated a range of interesting findings. There is support for the FGS as a grant mechanism in its own right but stakeholders also wish to ensure it integrates better with agriculture.
The feedback also highlights that the grants should keep pace with inflation. I know this is affecting some woodland creation projects, particularly smaller schemes.
I have asked Scottish Forestry to look at the scope to introduce some changes to the FGS to increasing the grant rate available for most smaller schemes. We will confirm the changes and arrangements shortly.”
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