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A FURTHER seven communities across Scotland have benefitted from Forestry and Land Scotland’s Community Asset Transfer Scheme.
The scheme, running since January 2017, enables geographic communities or communities of interest to purchase or lease land for projects that will benefit the community.
Speaking as FLS published its fourth annual report on CATS, Environment Minister, Mairi McAllan, said; “The Scottish Government is committed to giving Scotland’s communities more opportunities to develop land-based projects that will deliver benefits such as job creation, skills development, income generation and improved amenity.
“In just four years the scheme has resulted in eleven completed sales (totalling 494 hectares) and one hydro lease, with seven sales and a lease for land to build a community-led renewable energy project in progress.
“These transactions only serve to boost the 94 active partnerships/agreements or leases already in place and the 122 community projects that FLS has facilitated across Scotland,” said Ms McAllan.
“I very much welcome this work which helps communities make the best use of the national forests and land and am also pleased to note that other organisations are following FLS’ lead as their forward looking approach is more widely adopted.”
Examples of some of the benefits that communities are realising from CATS projects include:
- Completion of the lease for Raasay Development Trust’s community hydro scheme, addressing fuel poverty on the island, and providing a small income to pursue projects within Raasay’s five year Development Plan;
- The Crannog Centre proposals to relocate to a new site at Dalerb to secure the long-term future of the Scottish Crannog Centre;
- Carsphairn Community Woodland completed the purchase of 48 hectares of woodland at Muirdrochwood, creating a rural economic hub to help address social issues;
- Fairy Pools Car Park, Glen Brittle, Skye, where the Minginish Community Hall Association in partnership with OATS developed new car parking – and a new toilet block – to cope with increasing visitor numbers. They have planted 420 saplings at the car park to improve biodiversity and amenity and are reinvesting rental income from the car park into the community;
- Dronley Community Woodland, Auchterhouse, which is managing the woodland and installing all-abilities paths, providing a location for volunteer and for Forest School activities, and now also supplying timber to Tayside Forestry for local woodfuel.
Communities interested in finding out more or in making an application can find advice and guidance on the Forestry and Land Scotland website
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