This is the latest in a series of blogs in which we follow the progress of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill. You can read our previous updates here.

The Bill was debated at Stage 2 on the 6th and 13th of December 2017 where over 130 amendments were made. You can view the amended Bill here.

The amendments at Stage 2 have been well received in the industry and the politicians' pragmatic approach to the Bill, and manner in which they have listened to the views of experts, has been praised.

Among the amendments, the new Bill:

    • Inserts an obligation on Scottish Ministers to appoint a Chief Forester to advise them, recognising the need for forestry expertise at a top level.
    • Widens the scope of the definition of 'felling'. Where previously, the Bill provided that felling 'means intentionally killing trees', it now reads 'includes intentionally killing trees' so that felling now includes its ordinary meaning and the intentional killing of trees.
    • Provides a commitment that the forestry strategy must include the Scottish Ministers objectives, priorities and policies with respect to the production and supply of timber and other forest products.

There will be a Stage 3 debate on the Bill within the next couple of weeks and legislation is intended to be on the statute books before summer.

We will continue to track the progress of this Bill and will provide a further update after the next debate.