How to apply
Date published: 6 May, 2017
Applications for the Forestry Grant Scheme are online only.
You must register with Rural Payments and Services and have a Business Reference Number (BRN).
You can submit applications for Forestry Grant Scheme funding throughout the year.
Forestry Commission Scotland conservancy staff will assess applications on an ongoing approval basis. The Forestry Grant Scheme is competitive and our aim is to select the applications that deliver the greatest benefits against our budget priorities.
Some basic guidance about what you need to consider to establish a woodland and also to manage an existing woodland is available.
Forestry Commission Scotland staff will process your application according to Forestry Commission Scotland's customer charter. This may include a site visit. We may also request further information from you.
Monetary value and approval of contracts
If your application is approved and is less than £750,000 grant value, then you will be sent a contract approved by your local Forestry Commission Scotland conservator.
If the application selected for approval is for greater than £750,000 grant value, then this will require approval by a national assessment committee.
This committee will be led by Forestry Commission Scotland but will also have members from the Rural Payments and Inspections Division and Scottish Natural Heritage. It may also seek ministerial approval, dependent upon the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs's practice at that time.
After the approved contract has been signed by both Forestry Commission Scotland and yourself, you may commence the work.
Online application guide
Guidance to help you apply online for the Forestry Grant Scheme is available.
Submitting an application online
Once you have logged in to Rural Payments and Services, you will be able to submit an application online.
You can do this by clicking 'Applications' from your customer home page and selecting 'Forestry Grant Scheme' from the dropdown list to start a new application.
Once you have completed your application, select 'Submit Application' and an acknowledgement of your application will appear along with an application reference number.
Please use this number for all communications with Forestry Commission Scotland, and for tracking the progress of your application.
Assessing and scoring your application
Forestry Commission Scotland staff will assess your application and check it against the option(s)
When we assess woodland creation applications, we will give them a score based on how well the application meets current forestry and woodland strategies, together with local considerations such as enhancing local landscapes.
When we assess woodland management applications, we will give them a score based on how well it supports priority habitats and species and contributes to multi-purpose objectives.
We will also assess your financial eligibility
When assessing your application we will consider the potential risks to public finances associated with funding your project, and whether Scottish Government would be able to recover grants paid should the project fail, or partially fail, to deliver the contract commitments.
As part of this process we may ask for information about your business structure and land title in order to be able to assess any potential financial risk.
Where we are concerned about our ability to recover grants in the event of a project failing, for example because of the business structure, land ownership arrangements, or on-site risks, we may request that a standard security in favour of Scottish Ministers is placed on the property title.
We expect that this will required for less than 1% of FGS applications, and we would normally only consider this approach for projects with a grant value over £250k.
Where we consider this is necessary we will advise you whilst your application is being assessed. FCS will determine an appropriate length, ranking and scope of such security as well as appropriate review mechanisms.
These matters shall be objectively determined by FCS. They will take into account a range of factors such as the nature and value of the grant, the nature and circumstances of the grant recipient and other circumstances specific to the particular proposed grant.
If your application is approved you will be offered a contract which includes a requirement for the standard security to be in place before you are paid any grant.
Please note that you will be required to cover the legal costs you incur whilst putting the standard security in place.
We will assess your application against the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS), which is the reference standard for sustainable forest management in the UK. Supported by a series of Guidelines (Biodiversity; Climate change; Historic environment; Landscape; People; Soil; Water), the UKFS outlines the context for sustainable forest management, defines standards and requirements, and provides a basis for regulation and monitoring.
The UKFS recognises that Scotland's forests serve a wide range of objectives: environmental, economic and social. Practising sustainable forestry means managing Scotland's forests in a way that meets present needs but does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
All applications to the Forestry Grant Scheme will be assessed against the UK Forestry Standard and associated guidelines. To be eligible for grant aid, proposals must comply with the UK Forestry Standard.
We will then contact you with our decision on approving your application.
For more information at any point in your application process, please contact your local Forestry Commission Scotland conservancy office.
Click 'Download this page' to create a printable version of this guidance you can save or print out.