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Forestry asset transfer scheme invite applications to join evaluation panel

By Niall Harkiss

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The community asset transfer scheme aims to promote better use of land for community activities.
The community asset transfer scheme aims to promote better use of land for community activities.

People in Caithness and across Scotland are being invited to apply to join the panel of a scheme designed to promote better use of community land.

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is looking for five new members to join the panel of its Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS).

The scheme, which enables community bodies to take on ownership or lease of public land or buildings on Scotland’s national forest and land, is designed to allow the community to make better use of the asset for the benefit of their community.

To date 17 successful asset transfer requests have been completed, with six more approved, including two land leases for community hydro, which are now under construction.

Panel members will provide independent and impartial advice to FLS on applications to CATS, and help to evaluate the benefits and impacts of requests. As well as attending CATS Evaluation Panel meetings up to four times a year, members may also be asked to undertake site visits.

FLS chief executive, Simon Hodgson, said: "Scotland’s national forests already deliver a wide range of benefits to communities but successful applications to CATS can strengthen and empower communities and let them deliver more focussed benefits.

"This is a great opportunity to take on an advisory role in furthering community empowerment and is open to enthusiastic, diverse and talented people – professional or non-professional - from across Scotland who have experience in either forestry, economics or communities work.

"If you think you can make a positive contribution to the delivery of CATS, I encourage you to apply."

Ideal candidates should be able to offer experience in one or more of: land management; rural development; forestry; sustainable development; renewable energy; community development; business planning and financial management; housing; land reform; conservation.

Panel members are initially appointed for three years (with the possibility of re-appointment) and will be required for up to ten days per year, for which a daily fee of £250 and reasonable travel expenses will be paid.

Judith Webb, MBE, chair of the CATS evaluation panel, said: "This is interesting and rewarding work for anyone with forestry, community engagement and development or financial and business planning experience who wishes to play an important role in the asset transfer scheme.

"We are a truly independent panel committed to providing advice and recommendations to FLS having considered the full range of benefits and impacts of each application.

"You will have a range of documents and data to read, analyse and evaluate before panel meetings and may be asked to undertake and report back on site visits to meet applicants."

Requests for information packs and applications – via CV And covering letter – should be submitted fls.communities@forestryandland.gov.scot

Anyone looking to discuss the opportunity in more detail can contact the Community Asset Transfer Manager, Rebecca Carr on rebecca.carr@forestryandland.gov.scot

The closing date for applications is 17 May 2022.

A selection panel of three people, FLS chief executive, FLS director of estates and CATS evaluation panel chair will sift the application and carry out interviews as required.

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