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Funding for forestry
A new opportunity for forestry projects to take advantage of substantial funding from the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) has been announced today.
Forestry proposals within Rural Priorities will now be assessed on an ongoing basis rather than only being examined at the assessment centres (RPACs) which are scheduled to take place three times annually.
The new measure will apply only to cases deemed as being non-contentious and the same level of rigorous assessment will apply.
The announcement follows recommendations of both the review of SRDP by Peter Cook and the Confor report ("Recommendations for changes to the systems and operations of SRDP - A Forestry Perspective" December 2008).
Minister for Environment Roseanna Cunningham said:
"For Rural Priorities, the forestry options are unique in that they have not yet galvanised the sector into producing large amounts of good quality bids for the funding available.
"As a consequence, there is a large amount of uncommitted budget for forestry for all future claim years up to the end of the Programme period.
"We have seen some excellent proposals for forestry come forward and be part of the 124 million pounds already approved for Rural Priorities projects.
"I hope that today's move, which will allow our foresters increased seasonal flexibility with planting schedules, will also offer further encouragement to the sector to take advantage of what's available under Rural Priorities, and contribute to Scotland's climate change targets."
Cases which will go through the ongoing approval process meet the following criteria:
- Proposals which exclusively contain Forestry Options (i.e. Woodland Creation, Woodland Improvement Grant and Sustainable Management of Forests) that are mapped to Regional Priorities which are included under the "forestry" budget heading (i.e. 14, 21 and 23)
- Committed proposals with a total payment value across all claim years of 250 thousand pounds or less (including annual recurring payments)
- Proposals containing Regional Priorities which have achieved the threshold scoring set by the National Committee
All cases currently in the system are being considered for this route and that from August 31 onwards. Forestry Commission Scotland will start to approve funding for individual proposals which meet the eligibility criteria for ongoing approval.