In a move to give woodland owners every opportunity to create more woodland this year, Scottish Forestry is to extend the deadline for grant claims.
In order to maximise the use of this year’s 2023/24 Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) budget, and avoid slippage into the following year, Scottish Forestry is giving another six weeks for projects to be finalised.
The end of the claim year will now be extended up until the 17th May 2024, allowing woodland owners extra time to complete their projects, carry out the required paperwork, and submit 2023 claims for FGS capital funding.
Keeping up the momentum and getting as many trees in the ground as possible this year and next could help the case to lever in additional funding in future years.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:
“It is critical that we make the most of the available funds during this financial year as next year’s budget for woodland creation has unfortunately had to be greatly reduced.
“By extending the deadline it will assist woodland owners to complete their projects and carry out the paperwork needed to get their claims in for this planting year. Importantly, this action will avoid some slippage of projects rolling into the next financial year and eating into the reduced budget.
“This measure has been discussed with key forestry and rural stakeholders who have indicated their support for extending the end of year claims deadline.”
These meetings will continue so that all avenues are explored so that the Forestry Grant Scheme can continue to provide a mix of funding for a variety of projects.
Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of forestry trade body Confor added:
“The extension to the deadline for claiming grant this year is welcome.
“There’s very strong interest in woodland creation and maximising what is funded this year is an important component in satisfying as much of that demand as we can.
“A strong year will also demonstrate clearly the demand is there and that future funds need to be found to realise the industry’s important contribution to tackling damaging climate change.”
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Brendan Callaghan, Director of Operational Delivery at Scottish Forestry commented:
“We are currently considering a number of options which we believe will make the most of the money that we have available for next year’s budget. We hope to say more on that in the near future.”
A technical advice note for forestry agents and managers on the deadline extension is available on the Scottish Forestry website.
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