SCOTTISH Forestry has extended the deadline for woodland creation grant funding claims 'to avoid slippage into next year's budget'. 

Foresters will have an extra six weeks for projects to be finalised in the 2023/24 Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) budget, with the end of the claim year now May 17. 

With a much-criticised £32 million budget cut set to affect the next funding claim period, ministers believe it is "critical" that the most is made of this year's funding. 

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “It is critical that we make the most of the available funds during this financial year as next year’s budget for woodland creation has unfortunately had to be greatly reduced.


“By extending the deadline it will assist woodland owners to complete their projects and carry out the paperwork needed to get their claims in for this planting year. Importantly, this action will avoid some slippage of projects rolling into the next financial year and eating into the reduced budget." 

Scottish Forestry has been meeting Confor and other stakeholders through the Customer Representative Group to discuss how best to support the sector with next year’s budget.

Forestry Journal: Mairi Gougeon said it was critical that foresters made the most of this year's claim period Mairi Gougeon said it was critical that foresters made the most of this year's claim period

These meetings will continue so that all avenues are explored so that the Forestry Grant Scheme can continue to provide a mix of funding for a variety of projects.

Stuart Goodall, chief executive of forestry trade body Confor, said: "The extension to the deadline for claiming grant this year is welcome.

“There’s very strong interest in woodland creation and maximising what is funded this year is an important component in satisfying as much of that demand as we can.

“A strong year will also demonstrate clearly the demand is there and that future funds need to be found to realise the industry’s important contribution to tackling damaging climate change.”

A technical advice note for forestry agents and managers on the deadline extension is available on the Scottish Forestry website.