Woodland Improvement Grant – Woods In and Around Towns

Date published: 4 February, 2020

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

This option aims to provide support for operations that will contribute to the sustainable management of urban woodlands and provide a range of public benefits.

Urban woodlands are those located within one kilometre of settlements with a population of over 2000 people.

Support will be provided for applications that can:

  • bring neglected woodlands into management
  • develop opportunities to use and enjoy existing and newly created woodlands
  • enhance woodland sites supported under previous programmes

This grant can be applied to existing woodland.

A set list of standard costs for capital works and items are eligible for funding under this Woodland Improvement Grant. See the Operations section below for more details.

Grant awards of up to £100,000 per year, per Business Reference Number are available.

You must complete the agreed work satisfactorily before submitting your claim.

You can also apply for the annual management grant Sustainable Management of Forest – Public Access – Woods In and Around Towns if you need help with the costs of maintenance. This annual management grant will help to cover the additional costs of litter picking, sign and path maintenance, and tree safety surveys.

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

Woodland Improvement Grant

Before applying for this option you must have an approved Woods In and Around Towns – Urban Woodland Management Plan that covers all the woodland areas to be included in your application.

The Woods In and Around Towns – Urban Woodland Management Plan is eligible for funding under the Woodland Improvement Grant – Planning – Woods In and Around Towns – Urban Woodland Management Plan grant.

We may be able to accept pre-existing management plans if these comply with the Woods In and Around Towns – Urban Woodland Management Plan requirements. If you have an existing plan that you think complies with all these requirements, you must get our agreement and we must approve your plan before you can submit an application under this Woodland Improvement Grant option.

If your application under this option relates to a proposed woodland creation application you must still have an approved Urban Woodland Management Plan, produced using the Scottish Forestry template. You should only complete those sections of the template that are relevant to a newly created woodland. This plan cannot be funded under the Woodland Improvement Grant – Planning – Woods in and Around Towns – Urban Woodland Management Plan Grant. You will only receive grant payments for activities and / or items once these areas have been planted.

Please see the Supporting information section below for the information you need to supply us when applying for this option. You must use the appropriate standard template to give this information.

At least half of the woodland must be within the Woods In and Around Towns area. Urban woodlands are those within one kilometre of a town with a population of 2000 or more people.

The minimum block size of each individual woodland that we will accept for Woods In and Around Towns funding is 0.5 hectares.

The Woods In and Around Towns area is defined by Scottish Forestry and is available as a layer on the Scottish Forestry Map Viewer. If you have any doubt about whether your woodland meets this criterion, contact your local Scottish Forestry woodland officer.

With the exception of proposed new woodland sites, to be eligible for grant support the woodland must appear on the National Forest Inventory (with the exception of the National Forest Inventory categories of 'cloud' and 'uncertain'). The National Forest Inventory is available as a layer on the Scottish Forestry Map Viewer.

There must be free and unhindered public access to all areas included within the application. Areas such as school grounds and golf courses are not eligible unless there is free and unhindered public access to all areas.

You must achieve the standards of management set out in the Woods In and Around Towns – Woodland Management Standard.

All of your proposed capital work must comply with the UK Forestry Standard.

If thinning or felling operations are proposed within your application you must submit a separate Felling Permission application. Your Felling Permission must correspond with the information provided in your management plan.

You must demonstrate that you are fully committed to delivering the outcomes identified in the approved Urban Woodland Management Plan. If your application only partly delivers against the plan’s objectives, it is unlikely to be approved.

Construction of paths, tracks or roads

You should ensure that any necessary permissions are in place for the proposals. In particular, for applications including footpath construction, you must apply to the local planning authority for a decision on whether prior approval is needed.

This process is known as ‘prior notification’ and your application to the local authority must be accompanied by a description of the proposed work. You will need to provide us with evidence that you have followed this process.

Capital grant operations that can be applied for under this Woodland Improvement Grant are listed in the table below. Clearance and woodland management operations are not eligible for those parts of your application that relate to a proposed or young (less than 10 years) woodland. You will only receive grant payments for activities and / or items once proposed woodland areas have been planted.

You must carry out the work to the standard outlined in the specification for each item. To view the specification, click on each item in the list below. You must ensure that the completed work is maintained and functional during your contract.

Capital grant operations
Day Rate – Clearance Costs £120/day
Remove Infrastructure – Linear Features £2.50/metre
Scrape Path to Original Surface £0.60/metre
Remove Redundant Tree Shelters £0.27/each
Scrub / Woody Vegetation Eradication – Light £900/hectare
Scrub / Woody Vegetation Eradication – Intermediate £1,300/hectare
Scrub / Woody Vegetation Eradication – Heavy £2,000/hectare
Scrub / Woody Vegetation Eradication – Removal From Site £1,050/hectare
Chipping and Mulching £1,200/hectare
Fences and gates  
Post and Rail Fence £7/metre
Stock Fence £5.50/metre
March Stock Fence £2.75/metre
Building / Restoring Drystone or Flagstone Dykes £33/square metre
Self-closing Gate £350/each
Collapsible Bollards £400/each
Vehicle Barrier £688/each
Boardwalks and paths  
Path Bridge (Over 1 Metre, Steel Beam) £1,265/metre
Timber or Recycled Plastic Boardwalk £91/square metre
Timber Board and Aggregate Steps £150/metre
New Path – Unbound Surface £18.20/square metre
New Path – Semi-bound Surface £28.15/square metre
Upgrade Path £6.20/square metre
Excavate 'U' Ditch £1.88/metre
Piped Culvert (300 Millimetre Pipe) £143.38/each
Piped Culvert (450 Millimetre Pipe) £395.29/each
Gabion Basket Retaining Wall for Path £100/metre
Outdoor furniture and signage  
Timber Bench £350/each
Perch Seat £200/each
Timber Picnic Bench £700/each
Fingerpost £170/each
A3 Interpretative Sign £262/each
Waymarker Post £29/each
Threshold Sign £692/each
Primary Sign £270/each
Secondary Sign £188/each
A1 Interpretative Sign £992/each
Woodland management  
Woodland Thinning £380/hectare
Woodland Clearance – Felling Only £1,065/hectare
Woodland Clearance – Felling and Extraction £1,400/hectare
Fell Large Individual Tree £290/tree
Fell and Extract Large Individual Tree £541/tree
Prune Trees Along Path Corridor £2.18/metre
Make Safe Hazardous Mature Tree £113/tree
Tree Safety Survey £33/hectare
Cleaning £600/hectare
Small-scale Tree and Shrub Planting £3/plant and shelter
Replacement or New Single Standard Tree £100/tree
Manual Brashing £1.09/metre

To help us assess your application, you must provide us with supporting information using the template provided:

  • your Woods In and Around Towns – Urban Woodland Management Plan or other Forestry Commission Scotland approved pre-existing plan
  • information about the proposed operations
  • a map showing the location of the proposed capital items

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 are completely within the ‘WIAT Area’. Select the ‘WIAT’ Area dataset in the Forestry Grant Scheme Target and Eligibility Area folder on the Scottish Forestry Map Viewer to confirm your application meets this requirement

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

  • applications that are partly (but at least 50 per cent) within the ‘WIAT Priority Area’

Delivering better quality

1 POINT – for applications where the concept is restricted to the construction of new (semi) permanent facilities such as paths or car parks

3 POINTS – for applications where the concept is to construct facilities (as above), along with some intervention in the silvilcultural management of the woodland which would have shorter-term benefits. For example, thinning, rhododendron clearance, cleaning or remedial tree safety works, or signage

5 POINTS – for applications where the concept is to construct new facilities, along with significant long-term silvicultural change including felling/restock, or coppicing mature woodland

Delivery of good practice

1 POINT – for applications which meet the minimum eligibility requirements and relevant industry standards.

3 POINTS – for applications which demonstrate that you have liaised with consultees, communities and neighbours and addressed, where possible, any points they may have raised.

5 POINTS – for applications which are community owned, led, or supported and clearly demonstrate the delivery of significant benefits to the local community.

Supplementary point – additional benefit

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

  • the management of the site is identified as a specific action within the local authority woodland strategy or equivalent local planning document

You should only submit a claim once you have satisfactorily completed the work. Refer to the capital item’s minimum specification guidance to find out what supporting documentation and maps you need to supply with your capital claim.

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.

We may inspect all the capital items you claim to ensure that you have carried out the work to the correct specification.

Section Change
Operations Added March Stock Fence
Application eligibility criteria Paragraph added with guidance on the construction of paths, tracks or roads

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