Rural Law

In anticipation of its publication later this year, Scottish Forestry have called for anyone with an interest in the policy, support and regulation of Scotland’s forests to share their views on the first draft of its Corporate Plan.

The draft sets out Scottish Forestry’s priorities for the next three years and outlines the three strategic objectives that will frame the delivery of its work.

The first of the objectives focuses on the delivery of the Scottish Ministers’ forestry ambitions set out in Scotland’s Forestry Strategy 2019-2029, which was published in February last year. These include increasing the contribution of forests to both the country’s economic growth and to enable more people to improve their overall health and wellbeing. The Plan commits to expanding the area of forests and woodlands in Scotland and ensuring they are sustainably managed, while recognising wider land-use objectives. In 2018-19, 11,210 hectares of woodland were created in Scotland, making up 84% of the UK total.

Scottish Forestry also pledge to support the creation of new forests and woodlands for a range of purposes, including the production of timber, and to encourage the adoption of new technologies and practices.

Objective two has a more internal focus set on establishing and maintaining Scottish Forestry as an innovative and inclusive organisation for its employees, while the third objective aims to develop them into a higher performing and more resilient organisation through the delivery of new systems, such as a new online felling permission service, and by speeding up the processing of key Forestry Grant Scheme claims in order to deliver faster payments to customers.

December marked 100 years since the planting of the first tree of Scotland’s publicly-owned forestry. The Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry’s predecessor, was formed in 1919 with an aim of preventing a repeat of a timber crisis which took place during World War One. Today, its role expands to helping tackle climate change and protecting native woodland and animals, while continuing to ensure that forestry makes a substantial contribution to the economy at both local and national level through the production of timber and other wood fibre.

Announcing the consultation, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“Scottish Forestry was established on April 1, 2019, to advise on forestry policy, regulate the sector and support sustainable forest management. Getting the Corporate Plan right will help to deliver this purpose and contribute to the delivery of Scotland’s forestry strategy, which has the overall aim of creating more healthy, sustainable and productive forests across the country.”

The consultation is open until Wednesday 5th February and all views provided will help to further refine the Plan ahead of its publication in April. To access the draft Plan and submit your comments please visit https://consult.gov.scot/environment-forestry/scottish-forestry-corporate-plan.

If you would like more information on the Plan or any related issues please contact Graeme Leith or Kirsten Ogg in our forestry team.

Kirsten Ogg
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