Extra funding for tree planting in Scotland welcomed

16 December 2016

Confor has welcomed proposals to increase funding for tree planting in the Scottish Government’s budget for 2017/18.

"I recognise that the Scottish budget is under real pressure, so this proposed increase in funding is a real vote of confidence in Scotland’s £1 billion forestry sector”, said Confor chief executive Stuart Goodall. 

The overall budget for forestry has remained static, but within that, the funding available for tree planting schemes has been increased from £36m to £40m. 

"Planting and harvesting trees is an increasingly important part of Scotland’s rural communities, providing much-needed, well-paid jobs and tree planting is in the front line of efforts to reduce atmospheric carbon," Mr Goodall continued.  

"This funding is good for the sector and for Scotland's economy, environment and communities - especially as it comes immediately after the Mackinnon report identified ways to remove the barriers to tree planting in Scotland. The Scottish Government continues to show a very practical commitment to meeting its annual planting target of 10,000 hectares." 

Mr Goodall added: "We understand the Scottish Parliament will want to scrutinise this budget in detail and it might not be agreed for a number of months.  However we hope MSPs from across the political spectrum will support this vote of confidence in one of Scotland's key rural sectors, which is worth £1 billion a year to the economy and employs 25,000 people." 

The draft budget will also continue to support the Strategic Timber Transport Scheme to unlock the economic potential of Scotland’s forests by allowing the sustainable transport of timber in rural areas and delivering benefits for local communities and the environment. 

The Mackinnon Report: Analysis of Current Arrangements for the Consideration and Approval of Forestry Planting Proposals can be found here.