Tree nurseries and small forestry businesses are set to benefit from £1.5 million in funding so they can join the national effort to plant more trees.

The funding is being channelled through Scottish Forestry’s Harvesting and Processing Grant, which helps with the costs of specialist forestry equipment.

The funding will go towards seed trays; seed storage and sowing equipment; polytunnels; cold storage facilities and irrigation systems.

Adaptations to vehicles, machinery and premises to allow tree nurseries to continue safely under Covid-19 are also supported.

Through an agreement with the UK government tree nurseries in England, that supply trees to Scotland, will also be eligible to apply for the funding.

'Very ambitious tree planting targets'

Announcing the financial support, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“Scotland has very ambitious tree planting targets which are important to our green recovery and helping us meet our climate change targets.

To prepare for this increase in planting, we need to increase the capacity of tree nurseries so that they can produce more stock.

"The funding will not only assist Scottish nurseries to gear up but also others in England.

"I’m very pleased to be working with the UK government on this funding agreement which will help more woodland to be created in Scotland.”

Who benefits from the funding?

The funding is made up of nearly £1 million from Defra and £500,000 from the Scottish government.

Tree nurseries are to be the main beneficiaries of this additional funding, however forestry businesses based in Scotland can also apply to get financial support for a range of specialised forestry harvesting and processing equipment.

UK Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said:

“I am delighted to announce that we are providing almost £1 million from the Nature for Climate Fund to offer much needed support for this sector, helping to contribute to our UK-wide tree planting ambitions.

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 woodland creation across the UK to 30,000ha per year by 2025.

We will continue to work closely to grow nurseries’ capacity and resilience, as we plant new roots to make way for a greener, more sustainable future.”