Projects shall provide an opportunity for, and take account of, inputs from stakeholders and feedback from local communities during both the project design phase and over the life-span of the project.
Stakeholder consultation for land-use change will be checked at validation. Any ongoing consultation with stakeholders will be checked at verification.
In addition to a number of statutory consultees, communities can reasonably expect to be engaged in decisions about the use and management of land where the outcome is likely to have an impact on the community. This engagement should be a genuine exercise in collaboration, and community views should be considered to help achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The process should be proportionate to the resources available to all parties and the impact that the decision may have on the community.
The toolbox for public engagement in forest and woodland planning can assist forest and woodland managers when planning for public involvement, and when considering which tools would be most appropriate when including local communities and other stakeholders in forest or woodland planning and management.
In Scotland, the Scottish Land Commission Protocol on Community Engagement in Decisions Relating to Land and the Route Map for Community Engagement provides further guidance. The Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement helps guide the process of land reform in Scotland.
If a project has carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment or applied for a woodland creation grant, evidence of the consultation required as part of these processes is sufficient in most cases. Projects which apply for grant are also placed on a public register for 4 weeks and comments received will be considered as part of the grant approval process.