Energy Crops Scheme: How it works in Scotland

Short Rotation Coppice Crops of Willow or Poplar

What is this about?

This Option supports the establishment of short rotation coppice crops, through the planting of willow or poplar cuttings, to help deliver both economic and environment benefits.

What will this achieve?

The planting of new woodland, to be managed as short rotation coppice, will provide an Option for farm diversification that has the economic potential to take advantage of any emerging local woodfuel markets and renewable energy projects.

Creating a substantial source of local produce for woodfuel markets will encourage the movement of cost-effective processing closer to the rural timber resource and help to support associated local businesses.

In addition to the potential economic benefits provided by short rotation coppice, the establishment of this new woodland will contribute to carbon sequestration to support the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Programme.

What you can do?

Plant and establish tree crops of willow or poplar, to be subsequently managed as short rotation coppice on a 2 to 5-year cropping cycle.

Who can apply?

Owners or occupiers of agricultural land.

Eligibility criteria

The minimum eligible block of tree planting is 2 hectares.

At least 10,000 willow or poplar cuttings per hectare must be established and maintained for a period of at least 5 years.

Proposals must demonstrate that they have established an end use for the produce, e.g. evidence of a supply contract, and that the produce will be used to develop a fuel supply for renewable energy products.

Energy Crops Scheme participants can seek a fully funded biomass boiler from Mercantile Investors
Energy Crops Scheme participants can seek a fully funded biomass boiler from Mercantile Investors

All tree planting proposals must comply with the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard.

If your proposals falls above certain minimum-size thresholds and are likely to have a significant effect on the environment, an application for consent under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry)(Scotland) Regulations 1999 may be required.

We will consult local authorities and other statutory organisations about your proposals. We will take their views into account before approving your proposals.

What should you mark on your map(s)

The boundary of the planting area must be accurately drawn on a 1:10000 map and submitted with the proposals

For advice on how to mark up your Short Rotation Coppice Map please refer to the RDC-RP Mapping Guidance

What costs will be supported?

We will provide a contribution to the total costs incurred in establishing the trees as short rotation coppice.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Rate of support

The payment rate will be at 40% (50% in Less Favoured Areas) of the actual costs, including the cost of fencing, up to a maximum payment of of £1000 per hectare, based on receipted invoices.

The planting will be subject to inspection once we receive your claim for payment. We will inspect the work to ensure that it accords with the eligibility criteria.

List of links to relevant technical guidance:

The UK Forestry Standard –$FILE/fcfc001.pdf

The Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry)(Scotland) Regulations 1999


50% Funding on Biomass Crops and 100% Funding on Biomass Boilers

Grants for Energy Crops from Natural England and a fully funded biomass boiler from Mercantile Investors

Richard Williams out meeting those seeking fully funded biomass boilers
Richard Williams of Mercantile Investors out meeting those seeking fully funded biomass boilers
Are you a landowner and commercial grower recognised by the Rural Payments Agency?
This means you might qualify for a fully funded (no cost to you) biomass boiler opportunity (see attached).
Mercantile Investors are supporting Natural England with the Energy Crops Scheme would also like to work with you to explore the Natural England energy crops expansion programme for England.
This energy crops might be used as a substitute for fossil fuels, save a huge amount to your energy costs, contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and help to combat climate change. 
The Government believes that energy crops can play an essential role in contributing to sustainable development
Just to headline the grants.


£1750-£2350 PER hectare  FARMER NEEDS 3 hectare Miscanthus horizontal roots
 £2000 PER hectare Poplar OR  Willow
£60 AN acre ploughing
guestimate per hectare…………. regional assessors do final work 
Once aseesor comes and walks the land  a consultation made if near a water course EA  contacted about flooding
If you have a recognised ancient site the local authority would be contacted about hill forts or some ancient monuments.
The same will be expected for AONB.
Once all aspects are considered/approved an offer letter might then be made with the year in ground then 50% grant and the assessor can agree final figures.
To establish how much area could be allocated to be self sufficient, it might be worth calling DECC for output on energy crops 0300 060 4000 (9am-5pm).
Although you will not have to grow your own crops to benefit from a fully funded biomass boiler it is worthy of consideration as an energy crop (once planted) takes 18 months to establish and will continue to create heat/energy (fuel supply) at zero cost. The only cost in consideration is the cost of lost opportunity from the income of an alternative crop and the cost of harvesting for 15 to 20 years as a general life expectancy for the growth of energy crops.
The applicant must show end use ………. as in boiler bought or leased or FREE/funded.
One other challenge is immediate loss of income, no harvest for an energy crop will be meaningful for 18 months, so no income for 24 months and the free biomass is the opportunity to create a faster ROI
You must have total growth on 3 hectares or more (can be on various sites) and if you have more questions see the attached ECS handbook on Energy Crops or call Natural England Contact: Tel: 0300 060 1624 or 0300 060 1413
Fax: 0300 060 1544

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To find out more about FREE biomass and the whole programme then pleaseTel: 0300 060 1624 or 0300 060 1413
Fax: 0300 060 1544

Free or asset finance available for businesses seeking biomass
Free or asset finance available for businesses seeking biomass



Find out more about the scheme Tel 0845 055 8203