Following on from our 'Consultation on the Future of Forestry in Scotland' article, the Scottish Government has recently introduced the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill.

The key objective of the Bill is to allow Scotland to be better equipped to develop, support and regulate its Forestry Industry going forward.

Proposed forestry and land management functions

Where applicable to Scotland, the Bill provides for the following functions to be transferred from the Forestry Commissioners to Scottish Ministers:

  • To encourage and support sustainable forest management
  • To be involved in the preparation and publication of forestry strategy
  • To be responsible for tree health and silvicultural material testing
  • To be responsible for land management (including forestry land)

Proposed powers to be transferred to Scottish Ministers

Where applicable to Scotland, the Bill confers the following powers on Scottish Ministers:

  • If considered appropriate, to delegate their 'land management' function to community bodies
  • To acquire and dispose of land (including any land forming part of the National Forest Estate)
  • A step-in power to allow Scottish Ministers to assist in any failure to comply with the regulation of felling and restocking (including the right to recover any expenses in connection with the exercise of the step-in power)
  • General powers including but not limited to the following: carrying out research; collating and publishing information in connection with their forestry and land management functions; providing relevant training and guidance on their functions.

We will continue to update you as the Bill progresses, but if you have any questions on the new Bill, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual contact in the Land and Rural Business Team.