THE Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is offering grants of up to £3,000 to reduce the cost of developing woodland creation proposals.

While the Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme has been critical to the success of woodland creation schemes so far, the costs of preparing an application can be off-putting to some, the CNPA said.

David Hetherington, Woodland Advisor at the CNPA, explained: “With the support of partners – Scottish Forestry, Scottish Natural Heritage and Woodland Trust Scotland – we have set up a new Woodland Challenge Fund with a very straightforward application process. The fund will contribute up to £3,000 per scheme towards costs incurred in the development of a woodland creation application to the Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme including gathering information, surveys and discussing proposals as part of ‘due diligence’. We hope the Woodland Challenge Fund grants will help more landowners, crofters and tenant farmers to expand native woodland in the National Park, either through natural regeneration or by planting.”

All applications will be judged according to whether the proposed scheme helps to deliver one or more of the strategic objectives of the Cairngorms National Park Forest Strategy. These include whether it will restore lost or vulnerable forest ecosystems or encourage the natural regeneration of native forests.

Applications may be made at any time until 29 February 2020, but funding is limited.