New woodlands for Western Isles

Environment and Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson has urged landowners and managers across the Western Isles to take advantage of a new Scottish Government grant that aims to boost efforts to expand native woodland cover.

Supporting the delivery of the Western Isles Woodland strategy, the new grant is available until 2013 through the Rural Development Contracts element of SRDP.

It has been developed with the support of Regional Proposal Assessment Committee (RPAC) members led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and SNH and is supported by the Woodland Trust Scotland.

Promoting the grant while on a visit to Lewis, Mr Stevenson said: “Work has been going on for over ten years to protect and expand the native woodland cover across the Western Isles.

“Establishing more trees will not only offer variety in the landscape but will also increase biodiversity and offer shelter to people and to livestock.

“We became aware that the previous levels of support from SRDP were insufficient to revive local interest in establishing woodland on the islands, so the Scottish Government is now offering enhanced payment rates for woodland planting and maintenance.

“This new level of support - together with the specialist advice and assistance available from Forestry Commission Scotland– offers local land managers a golden opportunity to get involved in woodland creation across the islands.”

The new Woodland Creation Option requires planting of predominately native species at 3000 (minimum) stems per hectare and over an area greater that 0.25 hectares. There is a presumption against planting areas of deep peat and applications are restricted to a maximum of 3ha per applicant.

For more information on the Woodland Creation Option (Northern and Western Isles Native Woodland option), log on to: For more information