Review of forestry planting approval procedures

A review of forestry planting approval procedures was undertaken by Jim Mackinnon CBE. The review aims to reduce the complexity, duration and cost of tree planting applications.

Latest news

You can find out the latest news on the implementation of Jim Mackinnon's recommendations in our recent News Blog post.

Key achievements in June 2017 include:

  • revised protocols with SNH, SEPA and HES;
  • new EIA threshold criteria have been agreed;
  • monthly performance reports are now being published;
  • we are working on a new pre-application and consultation process and considering how the EIA fits into this;
  • the recommendation to introduce accredited agents has received a mixed response, so we are working with stakeholders to explore other options that would deliver the same desired result; and
  • new marketing material has been created and will be available at all the summer shows.

Previous updates

Delivering the recommendations

An implementation plan was drawn up featuring 21 recommendations which were then grouped into work streams. Each is intended to produce specific outputs to deliver benefits for the woodland creation process.

Delivery of the plan is supported by a Delivery Group. You can find out more about the Delivery Group and their work on the Mackinnon Report delivery group webpage.

Implementation summary

The following summary outlines how each work stream will be delivered.

The intended benefits of each work stream are outlined below:

Work streams Benefits

1. Pre application and consultation process

  • Reduced costs (stakeholder engagement prior to writing the plan removing requirement to rewrite)
  • Early community engagement providing early opportunity to influence design
  • Speed up the woodland creation application process

2. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process improvements

  • Targeted requests for information
  • Consistent approach
  • Experienced team
  • Reduced processing times
  • Reduced complexity of environmental statements
  • Reduce cost of application process
3. Approval  process improvements
  • Higher standard of applications
  • Simpler grant approval process
  • Increased trust in agents
  • Faster approval times
4. Management information and targets
  • Improved ability to target improvement actions
  • Ability to identify potential problems
5. Promotion, training and public information
  • Public awareness of woodland creation opportunities and benefits
  • Improved knowledge of all participants leading to higher standards
6. Potential large regional forest creation project
  • Large scale planting with community involvement