Farming

Half of the upfront costs associated with planting a new woodland – including buying trees, ground preparation or fencing – will be available under a new loan scheme focused on supporting small-scale projects up to 20 ha in size.

Fergus Ewing announced the new scheme (Picture: Getty)
Fergus Ewing announced the new scheme (Picture: Getty)

Aiming to remove cash flow barriers crofters, farmers and other small woodland owners may have when considering tree planting, Scottish Forestry will now offer advance payments under the Small Woodland Loan scheme. The scheme, launched yesterday by rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing will work alongside the existing main Forestry Grant Scheme.Announcing the support at a meeting with the Scottish Crofting Federation, Mr Ewing said: "There is significant interest in tree planting from smaller woodland owners, crofters and farmers.” He added that almost 200 of the 320 woodland creation schemes being funded by Scottish Forestry were for smaller projects.

He said many smaller scale land managers were worried about the upfront costs in getting trees in the ground: “The new Small Woodlands Loan Scheme aims to help remedy this and give a helping hand to assist with the costs of starting a woodland project.”

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He said the loan would give further confidence to the smaller businesses who wanted to help deliver future planting targets.

Scottish Crofting Federation chair Donald MacKinnon called the move a “very practical measure”.

The 50 per cent advance payment is directly linked to the “capital grant operations” each applicant will have detailed in their Forestry Grant Scheme Contract.

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