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