Grant scheme aims to bridge gap between trees and sheep

Forestry Commission Scotland said new woodland can offer flexibility to sheep farmers. Picture: Stuart Cobley
Forestry Commission Scotland said new woodland can offer flexibility to sheep farmers. Picture: Stuart Cobley
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A new funding package under the Forestry Grant Scheme will help farmers integrate new woodlands between ten and 50 hectares into their farms, it was claimed yesterday.

And while sheep and trees have often been viewed as firm rivals in Scotland’s upland areas, the Sheep and Trees Forestry grants package will encourage an integrated approach, according to Jo O’Hara, head of Forestry Commission Scotland.

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She said that shelter belts could help extend outwintering and provide more manageable grazing units.

The scheme will let farmers apply for a woodland creation grant and the forest infrastructure grant for the same area at the same time – allowing farmers to build access routes whilst also getting grants to get new woodlands established.

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O’Hara said that grants of up to £200,000 for woodland creation and up to £40,000 in infrastructure grant aid were available for 50 ha.

She said: “Creating new woodland can offer sheep farmers an added flexibility to manage their land to its best potential and keep a regular income coming in.”

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NFU Scotland’s director of policy Jonnie Hall said that while blanket forestry on productive land remained a contentious issue, the grant represented an opportunity to better integrate woodlands into agricultural land use, without compromising the ability to produce livestock and crops.

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