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£160 million investment announced for Scottish forestry and agriculture

Wed 2 September 2020

Yesterday, Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, announced £160 million of investment into the Scottish Rural Economy, stating that it is at the heart of the COVID-19 Green Recovery plan. Not only will this investment deliver considerable environmental rewards, but it will support job creation and benefit landowners with suitable land for forestry development.

The investment has been allocated to:

·         An additional £100 million for Scottish Forestry to increase planting;

·         £30 million to Forestry and Land Scotland to expand national forests and land;

·         £20 million to increase the supply of young trees; and,

·         £10 million towards The Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme, which will open for applications later this month.

Commenting on the announcement, Mike Halliday, Farm Business Consultant at land, property and business consultancy youngsRPS said: “It has been revealed that in 2019-20, 80% of new tree planting in the UK was delivered by Scotland; 22,000 hectares of new woodland in the last two years. Fergus Ewing has stated that planting targets will increase to 18,000 hectares per year (from 12,000 hectares per year) in 2024-25, generating a huge demand for land that will drive premium prices; an opportunity that we urge all landowners to consider.”

“As well as a significant forestry investment, Fergus Ewing announced a £10 million grant scheme for farmers and crofters which will enable to them to cut their emissions and farm more sustainably by ensuring they have access to the right equipment, tools and knowledge. We await further information as to what capital items are to be included within The Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme, however, we do know that this is a pilot scheme that will run for five weeks and offer farmers and crofters up to £20,000 to purchase new equipment. This will be an extremely popular scheme and we urge farmers and crofters to seek advice about how it can benefit them prior to applications being opened.”

If you are considering your land for forestry development, please contact Tom Oates.
Alternatively, if you are looking for advice on The Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme, or the most suitable grant schemes for your business, please contact Mike Halliday.