Scottish Forestry is making over £2 million available to tree nurseries, small forestry businesses and farmers to help them gear up and play their part in creating more woodland across Scotland.

For the first time, through a new agreement with the UK and Welsh Governments, tree nurseries in England and Wales which supply trees to Scotland will also be able to apply for the funding.

The support is part of Scottish Forestry’s Harvesting and Processing Grant, which will help farmers and foresters to buy specialist forestry equipment ranging from polytunnels, seed trays through to mounding equipment, worksite welfare units and small scale sawmills for wood processing.

Announcing the funding, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Forestry has a key role to play in helping the rural economy recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. I am also determined to see tree planting increased in Scotland to help meet our climate change targets.

“Assisting smaller scale businesses to grow and become more resilient is key to achieving these ambitions, and to maintaining livelihoods and creating more job opportunities in remote rural areas.

"This funding supports investment by forestry businesses in new specialised equipment to increase capacity, expand the business and sustain employment.

If any of the tree planting ambitions are to be realised in the UK, then we need to be growing more of our own stock.

"That means increasing nursery capacity here in Scotland, but also across the UK. I am pleased to be working with the UK and Welsh Governments to enable nurseries in England and Wales to also benefit from this grant funding. That will help more woodland to be created here.”

UK Government Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “We know the impacts coronavirus has had on tree nurseries, and I am therefore delighted we are contributing much-needed support for this sector.

“Growing and protecting the UK’s forests is an integral part of our green recovery from coronavirus, as we continue towards our commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000ha/year by 2025."

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs for the Welsh Government, added: “As each government across the UK looks to increase its tree stock, this scheme will help us to collaborate where required as we look to hit our individual national planting targets.

“A number of nurseries already supply trees across Great Britain – this partnership effort with other governments will allow us to get an overall view of supply and demand of trees, and ensure there is sufficient capacity for us to meet our target in Wales."