Forestry and environment project funding

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A biodiversity plan to protect threatened wildlife on the Isle of Lewis and the creation of new woodland at Coshogle Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Dumfries and Galloway are among 500 projects approved in the latest round of Rural Priorities.

The £31.5 million cash boost, co-funded by the EU and the Scottish Government, is targeted at agri-environment and forestry projects and will support vital government priorities to improve water quality, mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity.

It will safeguard and create hundreds of jobs and provide much needed help to businesses in some of Scotland’s most remote rural areas.

This latest round of funding brings the total number of projects approved by Rural Priorities to 5,350 since the scheme’s launch in 2008, worth some £398 million.

Rural Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“I’m delighted to announce that we have now approved well over 5,000 projects under Rural Priorities, part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

“Almost £400 million in EU and Scottish Government funding has now been ploughed into Scotland’s rural areas through Rural Priorities, safeguarding and creating thousands of jobs.

“This latest round of funding focuses on vital agri-environment and forestry projects which will help to meet climate change targets and protect and enhance Scotland’s unique biodiversity and landscape.

“By targeting this round at these projects we are spreading out Rural Priorities to benefit as many applicants as possible over the course of the SRDP, despite severe public spending cuts imposed on Scotland by Westminster.

“The projects approved today will help to safeguard some of Scotland’s most protected places and support our rural communities for generations to come.”