Planting and managing trees on crofts, smallholdings and common grazings can provide timber, shelter, richer habitats for wildlife, attractive landscapes and capture carbon. There are so many benefits, but planting in the highlands and islands, or on a small scale, presents some challenges.
The sections on this site explain how, where, and why to plant, along with links to helpful organisations and grants for small-scale planting.
For advice on larger scale planting, including under the Foresty Grant Scheme, head over to our Farm Woodlands page Farm Woodland resources for farmers from Farm Advisory Service (fas.scot). Common grazings which have a Business Reference Number (BRN) are eligible to apply for FGS grants.
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If you have a croft or smallholding within the Crofting Counties (shown in green on the map), then the Woodland Trust Scotland's Croft Woodland Project offers free advisory visits and help accessing grants for tree planting and woodland management.
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Grants For Crofts & Smallholdings
Crofting Agricultural Grants Scheme
This scheme provides grants for crofters to make improvements to their crofts and help to sustain their businesses.
Funding can be used for capital projects, such as the establishment of an effective hedge or shelterbelt for the protection of livestock or crops, or essential ancillaries such as protective fencing and ditching. The establishment of windbreaks for horticultural business is similarly eligible. Ineligible items include commercial forestry. Shelterbelts and hedges must be designed to fulfil the required agricultural purpose. Funding for eligible capital projects can cover all aspects of the project, including the cost of materials, transportation of materials, costs of contractors and your own labour.
The total amount of grant aid you can apply for in any two year period is:
- individual crofter: up to £25,000
- groups of crofters: up to £125,000
Note that if you apply for assistance from the CAGS scheme, you may not apply for grant aid under other publicly funded grant schemes.
Other Grants & Schemes
There is a quick guide to woodland creation grants available
MoreWoods is a scheme administered by the Woodland Trust for small-scale planting of at least 0.1 hectares.
Scottish Forestry have published a guide on ‘Preparing Woodland Creation Applications’ to help land managers prepare a Woodland Creation Grant Application. The guide brings together information on tree planting and planning so that applicants for grant can get a clear idea of what is required.
The Croft Woodlands Project offers free support to crofters, common grazing’s committees and smallholders within the crofting counties
Grants For Common Grazings
The Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) offers a range of grants to support the management and expansionof woodlands in Scotland. Common grazings which have a Business Reference Number (BRN) are eligible to apply for FGS grants. Scottish Forestry staff and the Croft Woodland Project advisers can provide advice and information to grazing committees on the available grants.
Crofters who hold a share in the common grazing (i.e. an area of grazing land used by a number of crofters and others who hold shares in that land) have the right to apply to the Commission to plant and develop woodland on their common grazings. They should also obtain consent of the owner of the common grazing.
Woodlands soak up CO2 from the atmosphere, whilst also providing habitat for wildlife, shelter for livestock and other benefits.
Woodland ownership and management rights are in the hands of crofting tenants and shareholders, rather than landowners, since the 1991 Crofter Forestry Act, which means that utilising the carbon market is possible. The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is the quality assurance standard for woodland creation projects in the UK, and generates high integrity, independently verified carbon units, backed by the Government.
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