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Woodland Creation

Option closed to new applications

In 2014 (and subject to State Aid approval) we will accept new applications for woodland creation planting options (no natural regeneration proposals), provided the work you propose will be carried out during the 2015 claim year.

Please see FCS Briefing Note 9 about Transitional arrangements during 2014.

Woodlands are a vital sustainable natural resource and we aim to encourage the creation of new woodlands with grants that will contribute to the cost of their establishment.

Woodland Creation can contribute towards the following Regional Priorities

  • Business Viability and Competitiveness (Priority 1-7)
  • Biodiversity (Priority 8-12)
  • Landscape (Priority 13-14)
  • Built and cultural heritage (Priority 15)
  • Water and soils (Priority 16-20)
  • Adaptations to mitigate climate change (Priority 21-24)

Choose your Woodland Creation Option

Within Rural Priorities there are eight woodland creation options. Click on the option of your choice to get detailed eligibility requirements and information.

Technical Support

More technical guidance may be available to help you with the option you have chosen. This is available on the Forestry Commission Scotland website Technical Support page.

May 2012: Encouraging more planting of productive conifers and broadleaves

After a period of relatively modest activity in Woodland Creation since Rural Priorities opened in 2008, we are now experiencing levels of interest in woodland creation which are much closer to our target of 9,000 hectares each year funded through grant aid.

So far the majority of planting activity (about 75%) has taken place using the Native Woodland planting Option in Rural Priorities. For the future we would like to see a greater proportion of Woodland Creation take place using the Woodland Creation Options which are most likely to yield a future timber harvest.

To encourage this we are making some changes in the availability of Rural Priorities grant funding from 18 May 2012:

We have introduced a limit to the area of Farmland Premium you can claim when creating woodland using the Native Woodland planting Option.

In a similar way, we have also introduced limits to the area of the Central Scotland Mixed Woodland Option that you can apply for.

You can get more information direct from the Native Woodland Option and Central Scotland Mixed Woodland webpages.

Revised payment period for Farmland Premium:

Please see the Farmland Premium Payment web page (linked from each option page) for important information about revised payment terms for applications approved after 1 January 2014.

Planning Grant availability:

A Planning Grant, available from January 2012, has now been extended to more Woodland Creation Options.

Rates of support

The current support rates for initial planting and annual maintenance are:

Woodland Creation Option

Initial Planting Payment

Rate £/ ha

70% for NLFA*

Initial Planting Payment

Rate £/ ha

80% for LFA**

80% for NFLA in Target areas only

Initial Planting Payment

Rate £/ ha

90% for LFA in Target areas only

Maintenance Payment

Rate £/ ha/year

Productive Conifer (low cost)





Productive Conifer (high cost)





Productive broadleaved woodland





Native woodland





Naturally regenerated native woodland





Mixed conifer/broadleaf woodland





Northern & Western Isles Native Woodland





Central Scotland Mixed Woodland







*NLFA = Non Less Favoured Area



**LFA = Less Favoured Area

*** = Target Areas include the CSGN areas, Argyll Islands Woodland Partnership area and in IFS recognised preferred or potential sites where you will plant a productive crop.

For all woodland creation options, the costings take into account typical ground preparation activities and the use of tree shelters to protect and maintain the broadleaves. You must be able to demonstrate careful consideration of silvicultural, protection and environmental issues as well as good value for money.

Rules for payments

  • Initial Planting payment - Paid as a lump sum on completion of planting
  • Maintenance Payment - This is an Annual Recurrent grant that is paid for a period of five years. You will need to complete a Single Application Form declaring all your land and any Options on them. You can get more information about making your claim and the deadline dates.

    Maintenance payment can only be made if you have planted at least 50% of a woodland type on agricultural land or abandoned agricultural land.

Important Note: You must have completed the planting for which you are claiming maintenance payments and submitted your initial planting capital claim by 30th June of the claim year specified in your Schedule of Works. If you cannot complete the planting by 30th June then you should request a variation to change the start year for maintenance payments to the following year.

Maintenance and Farmland Premium payment rules

Ineligible areas

  • Planting on non-agricultural land including land used to keep horses for recreational or sporting purposes.
  • Planting in existing woodlands, including grazed woodland
  • Land used for Christmas tree growing is ineligible for any Woodland Creation support.

Specific rules

  • Public Bodies (not Local Authorities) do not get Farmland Premium or Maintenance
  • Maintenance payment can only be paid for planting on agricultural land or abandoned agricultural land
  • Farmland Premium can only be paid to farmers who plant on agricultural land

This table shows when you can claim Farmland Premium, Maintenance Payment or both.



Eligibility of grant



Agricultural Land

Abandoned Land

Farmland Premium is applicable

Maintenance is applicable




























Environmental Impact Assessments



If your proposals fall above certain minimum-size thresholds and are likely to have a significant effect on the environment, you may need to apply for consent under the Environment Impact Assessment (Forestry) (Scotland) Regulations 1999.

Consultation about your proposals

We may consult/notify local authorities and other statutory organisations about your proposals. We will take their views into account before considering approval.

All proposals containing new woodland creation areas that exceed 2.0 hectares are placed on a 'Public Register' by the local Forestry Commission Scotland Conservancy office. Please note that the 'Public Register' and 'Consultation' period is 28 days, so please allow for this period of time, plus the associated administration time, between submitting and committing your Proposal.

Discussing with your neighbours

You should discuss woodland planting and felling proposals with those neighbours who might be directly affected. You should record any contact, and results of contact, with neighbours in your accompanying Forestry Outcome Plan.

Getting Landlord's consent

If you are a tenant then you must ensure that you get your landlord's consent before you apply for grant to plant trees under any of the Woodland Creation options. This form seeks your landlord's agreement to the conversion of land to woodland. You should also check the terms of your tenancy agreement to ensure that the lease is not unsuitable for forestry purposes. You can download a copy of the Landlord's Consent form.

If you are a tenant or contractual licensee, you must discuss the proposed application with your landlord to make sure it does not break the conditions of your tenancy or licence, and submit a Landlord Notification Form with your Proposal. You cannot receive final approval from Scottish Ministers for your Proposal without this form.

Short Term tenancies

If you have a tenancy or a licence with less than five years to run you must complete a Landlord Declaration form and ask your Landlord or the landowner to sign the declaration on that form.

Woodlands required by planning consent

We cannot approve applications for woodland creation that is required as a specific condition in a planning consent. However, if a larger area than that required by the planning consent is to be planted, the Case Officer will assess the proposal on its individual merits. The Case Officer will consider the additional benefits that the larger area will provide bearing in mind the Rural Priority that the applicants wishes to meet.