Woodland Improvement Grant – Planning – Forest Plan Renewal

Date published: 18 July, 2018

For recent changes to this guidance, please see the bottom of the page.

This option aims to provide support for the renewal of an existing forest plan that sets out the management objectives for your woodland.

This is for the long-term management of woodlands over 10 to 20 years and is aimed at (but not limited to) woodlands of 100 hectares or more that have previously been supported for long-term forest plans, under any of the legacy grant schemes.

We will pay this standard cost capital grant after we have approved the completed plan.

Your plan must capture your entire woodland holding, including young woodlands and areas planned for woodland creation.

The grant rate is:

  • £10 per hectare for first 200 hectares
  • £5 per hectare thereafter
  • minimum £500, maximum £10,000

This grant support is to help cover all aspects of the forest plan process including any necessary surveys (such as archaeological, historic environment, habitat, species and soils), scoping and site visits.

The payment of grant will be based on the total area of woodland within the plan including felled areas and integral open ground up to 20 per cent of the total forest plan area.

However it will exclude woodland creation areas less than 10 years old or areas covered by a woodland creation live contract (where the conditions have yet to be met and / or final payments have yet to be made).

Please check that you are eligible to apply for Forestry Grant Scheme funding before beginning your application.

Woodland Improvement Grant

Please see the 'supporting information' section below for the information you need to supply when applying for this option.

Include all woodland on your property. Where woodlands are geographically separate parcels we may permit more than one plan.

Historical land splits will be taken into consideration but will not necessarily be endorsed for this Woodland Improvement Grant. Please discuss this with your Forestry Commission Scotland woodland officer.

Your plan must show the areas of felling, thinning and restructuring that you intend to carry out over a ten-year period and for which you would like approval. The forest plan should also outline proposals for a 20-year period.

Forest plans must comply with the UK Forestry Standard.

You must carry out operations that are eligible for grant support within the first phase of the plan approval period.

You must carry out the plan process as outlined in the Long-term Forest Plan technical guidance.

To help us assess your application, you must provide us with supporting information.

You must provide maps that clearly show:

  • the perimeter of the plan area
  • key issues and actions that you will address in the forest plan. This is the concept map

The concept map should also give a broad indication of activities such as felling and thinning.

General mapping guidance for the Forestry Grant Scheme

We have set agreed financial budgets for each of the options under the Forestry Grant Scheme.

To ensure that we make the most cost effective use of funding available and to meet Scottish Government objectives, we will assess each application using scoring criteria.

The criteria will be written as appropriate to each Forestry Grant Scheme option; please refer to Scoring criteria and clearing process for details.

Each option within your application must meet the threshold score to be considered for approval. In achieving the threshold score, your option must score against each criterion except for additional benefit.

The scores will then be used as the basis for allocating funding on a competitive basis through the Forestry Grant Scheme clearing process.

Delivery of option benefits

1 POINT – for applications that meet the eligibility requirements but do not deliver any of the benefits detailed below.

3 POINTS – for applications that provide one or more of the following in addition to meeting the eligibility requirements:

  • applications that include designated SSSI/Natura woodlands which are not currently meeting 'favourable' condition. The concept map should clearly set out the actions proposed, within the approval period of the plan, to improve the condition of the designated woodland


  • applications that identify the presence of European Protected Species, and indicate the operational practices which will be undertaken to ensure their protection


  • applications that identify a waterbody which is classified as being in 'bad', 'poor', or 'moderate' status. Refer to the 'map view' on Scotland's Environment web page to find the 'river classification' in the 'water' section. Your concept map should demonstrate how activities proposed, within the approval period of the plan, will help to reduce the 'forestry' pressure on this waterbody. Your local conservancy office will be able to confirm if your application meets this requirement

5 POINTS – for applications that meet one of the three-point criteria above and one of the criteria below:

  • applications that include designated SSSI/Natura woodlands which are not currently meeting 'favourable' condition. The concept map should clearly set out the actions proposed, within the approval period of the plan, to improve the condition of the designated woodland. The designated woodland should be identified by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage as a priority. Contact your local conservancy office to confirm your application meets this requirement

Supplementary point – additional benefit

1 POINT – will be awarded, as an additional point, where:

  • applications can demonstrate improvements to an existing wooded landscape by resolving recognised design deficiencies (usually related to the design principles of relative scale and shape)

You must submit a capital claim once we have approved your completed plan.

You cannot make a claim for an area that exceeds what is agreed in your contract. You must claim for the areas as detailed in your schedule of works. For example, you cannot make an interim claim for part of the area shown on a single line of your schedule of works.

You must claim your capital items on the Forestry Grant Scheme manual Standard Costs Capital Items Claim Form once you have satisfactorily completed the work.

Claim forms and guidance are available on the Claims and payments page.

Section Change
Technical guidancePollution control guidance document added

Click 'Download this page' to create a printer-friendly version of this guidance that you can save or print out.