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Community Owned Forestry takes Root

Ullapool Community Trust has started a working group to investigate the potential of owning and managing forestry on behalf of our community. Initial consultation have begun and there is support for a range of potential opportunities ranging from recreation and tourism, to commercial forestry, coppicing and woodland crofting.

We have also had strong support to bid for ownership of the land that our local community hydro scheme BroomPower is built on. This would bring immediate economic benefit to the community and act as a stepping stone for future forestry development projects.

UCT are exploring using the Community Asset Transfer (CATS) scheme whereby if a community expresses an interest in an area of forestry, the community can exercise certain rights and processes to gain ownership. UCT would look to establish the best methods for development, ownership, lease or a partnership approach. Asset transfer may be crucial for the BroomPower development, but an official options appraisal would investigate this in more detail.

Initial discussions have suggested a holistic project to develop the Inverlael forest. We would like to avoid a piecemeal approach and there is potential for a phased project, developing the area in question over several years.

We are now at a stage where we would like to start with some feasibility work and project scoping. Ullapool Community Trust would like to invite members of the community to get involved in this project and attend meetings with the current working group. If you have interest in getting involved, please contact Ben at UCT on ben@ullapoolcommunity.org or telephone on 01854 613 879.