Changes to the WIG Restructuring Regeneration Guidance
Forestry Commission Scotland have announced important changes to the WIG Restructuring Regeneration Guidance. They have recognised that the grant has proved complex for both staff and customers to understand and has led to unintended consequences such as changes being made to Forest Plans to meet grant requirements. The eligibility requirements have therefore now been revised and the guidance updated to simplify this grant option.
The new guidance is now available on the Forestry Grant Scheme website. Compared to the previous web guidance, there are two main changes:
- The basis of the grant rate assessment moves from the 10 years of approved restocking to the species composition of the whole forest plan at year 20. The longer time period is more reflective of the forest plan as a whole and a better period over which to assess diversity. This should also simplify the process as the species breakdown at 20 years should be readily available in every approved forest plan. (The grant assessment for Felling licence remains the same and is based on restocking species composition across the approved felling area).
- The species diversity requirements for an application and claim have been clarified. For ‘delivering UK Forestry Standard Woodland’ – species diversity needs to be at least 10% (up to 90% main species can be allowed – which can be Sitka Spruce) . For ‘delivering diversity and resilience’ – species diversity needs to be at least 20% (up to 80% main species can be allowed).
Forestry Commission Scotland says:
We believe the above changes will reduce complexity and make the process more straightforward for everyone. It also means that the WIG RR Components Table will be simplified and this will be revised within the next few days. However, where submitted applications are disadvantaged by the these guidance changes then we will honour the previous guidance rules. We also recognise that some customers will be working up applications based on the previous guidance that have not yet been submitted. In order to minimise the impact of these changes, where customers request us to do so, we will also honour the previous guidance rules on WIG RR applications received by Friday 11th December.