Delivery Plan for improving the Consideration and Approval of Forestry Planting Proposals
A plan to streamline the tree planting process in Scotland was announced on 10 February 2017 by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing. It contains a package of measures to drive forward and speed up the tree planting process. The plan is a response to recommendations from Jim Mackinnon CBE, who was commissioned by Scottish Government, to explore the current arrangements for forest planting approval processes.
The delivery plan covers a range of measures including:
- Speeding up processes for woodland creation applications and for grant approvals by revising existing processes and guidance. New initiatives include developing a scheme to appoint accredited, experienced agents to help certify some woodland planting schemes;
- Improving promotional material and training for staff to improve the delivery of information and training;
- Reviewing criteria and establishing a specialist team to deal with complex proposals and;
- Working with interested local authorities to explore the potential for a large scale, multi-owner woodland creation project.
A delivery group, comprising key stakeholders and advisers will provide external expertise and advice on the implementation of the proposals, and will help to ensure that the actions deliver the desired outcomes.
Updates will be available on the Forestry Commission website.
Analysis of Current Arrangements for the Consideration and Approval of Forestry Planting Proposals
A report highlighting ways to increase the number of trees planted across Scotland was published on 14 December 2016.
Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity asked Jim Mackinnon CBE to provide an analysis of the current arrangements for the consideration and approval of forestry planting proposals and to make recommendations for improvements to the process. The review is part of a broader package of reforms to drive forward forestry’s contribution to the rural economy and to support delivery of climate change targets.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
- Streamlining the process to approve sustainable planting schemes, for example by appointing accredited, experienced agents to help certify some woodland planting schemes and by giving FCS local offices more responsibility to approve lower value applications
- Earlier engagement between tree-planting businesses and communities, in a way that is proportionate to the scale and impact of the planting scheme
- A dedicated national Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) team to deal with complex proposals including all projects where an Environmental Impact Assessment is required
The Cabinet Secretary accepted all of the recommendations in principle. FCS will set out a delivery plan for implementing the recommendations early in 2017.
Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS)
As part of the new Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-2020, the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) supports:
- the creation of new woodlands – contributing towards the Scottish Government target of 10,000 hectares of new woodlands per year
- the sustainable management of existing woodlands
During the Scottish Rural Development Programme 2014–2020, £252 million will be available through this scheme. You can apply for support under eight categories:
- two for the creation of woodland
- six for management of existing woodland
Within some of these categories, there is a range of funding options which relate to specific types of project or work.
For further information, visit the Rural Payments and Services website.
SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) have launched their new Land Information Search service, to help landowners to plant trees and improve their management of the natural environment. Additional features include:
- Searching with a line feature
- Saving digitised features for future searches
- Sequenced highlighting of buttons to guide users
These additional features will enhance the usability of the tool.
SEPA hope that the applicants to the Scotland Rural Development Programme will find these additional features useful.
Chalera Ash Dieback: Stakeholders Meeting, 13 November 2012, Holyrood
A note of this meeting can be found here.
Strategic plan for the national forest estate to 2013
The Strategic Plan for the National Forest Estate 2009-2013 sets out how Forestry Commission Scotland will implement the Scottish Forestry Strategy on the national forest estate through its operating arm, Forest Enterprise Scotland.
For full details and a copy of the plan see: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fesplans