Forestry Grant Scheme Conifer Option screening applications: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

Could you confirm, for Scotland as a whole and by region, under the Conifer Option of the Forest Grant Scheme since 2015:

  1. How many screening applications have been made to Scottish Forestry;
  2. Of the screening applications identified above, how many have been required to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment;
  3. Where can I get access to view screening applications (including assessments), SF responses and any EIAs;
  4. Is it a legal requirement for any screening information, including assessments & EIA of sites, to be made available to the public e.g. the Community Council, to allow due public scrutiny and response.

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.


1. For clarification, prior to the completion of forestry devolution in April 2019 to Scottish Ministers, the Forestry Grant Scheme and forestry EIAs were administered by Forestry Commission Scotland, which was part of the Forestry Commission and the duties and functions of the Forestry Commissioners.

  FGS Conifer Option EIA Screening Applications since 2015
Central Scotland Conservancy 163
Grampian Conservancy 69
Highlands & Islands Conservancy 35
Perth & Argyll Conservancy 149
South Scotland Conservancy 312
Scotland Total 729


  FGS Conifer Option EIA Consent Required since 2015
Central Scotland Conservancy 1
Grampian Conservancy 0
Highlands & Islands Conservancy 1
Perth & Argyll Conservancy 1
South Scotland Conservancy 1
Scotland Total 4

Details of past EIA Consultations are available at Scottish Forestry - Past Environmental Impact Assessment consultations.

3. EIA Screening Opinion requests, supporting information and SF Screening Opinions are available on request from our Conservancy offices. EIA Reports are made publicly available in Conservancy offices and on our website: Scottish Forestry - Environmental Impact Assessment projects.

4. Under the Forestry (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017, we must publish our Screening Opinion decision on projects that exceed the regulatory thresholds. These are presented on our EIA Public Register

Under the Regulations, where EIA Consent is required, EIA Reports must be publicised via a public notice in a local newspaper, The Edinburgh Gazette and on the Scottish Forestry EIA projects web page. Copies of the application will also be made available in public places, which are decided by the local Conservancy office depending on the location of the application.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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