New “executive agency” to manage Scotland’s forests

Scotland's forestry industry is worth �1 billion a year. Pic: JP
Scotland's forestry industry is worth �1 billion a year. Pic: JP
Have your say

Holyrood is to consider its first piece of forestry legislation - with the Scottish Government pledging the new bill will help expand the £1 billion sector.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the legislation would help develop, support and regulate the forestry industry - which supports some 25,000 jobs.

The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill will also make more effective uses of publicly-owned land, according to the Government.

Other changes will see a new executive agency to be called Forestry and Land Scotland set up while there will also be a dedicated forestry division within the Scottish Government.

Mr Ewing said: “Existing staff will transfer to new bodies as civil servants and I value their knowledge and experience.

“Scotland’s forests and woodlands are among our most valuable rural assets and our ambition is for them to expand and flourish.

“They contribute significantly to our ambitious climate-change targets, soaking up about 10 million tonnes of CO2 each year.

“They help to build growth and prosperity, contributing £1 billion each year to the Scottish economy and supporting 25,000 jobs.

“Our forests come in all shapes and sizes - productive forests, iconic native pinewoods and treasured native woodlands. Each is valuable in its own way.

“The Bill and other changes announced today will enable us to deliver on our bold ambitions.

“We will continue to work to ensure forestry plays a leading role in Scottish communities for generations to come.”

Woodland Trust Scotland director Carol Evans said: “We welcome the focus which the Scottish Government are placing on the role of woods and trees across Scotland.

“Forest industries are worth £1 billion every year to Scotland, with a large part of that coming from the landscape and recreation benefits of irreplaceable ancient and native woodland.

“This forestry bill is an opportunity for the official definition of forestry to catch up with 50 years of improved practice on the ground.

“Modern forestry is no longer just about timber supply but about sustainable forest management, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, community engagement and tourism.”