Appointment of Jim MacKinnon

Confor has welcomed the appointment by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing of Jim Mackinnon to undertake an analysis of the processes involved in approving new planting as well as restocking.

Mr Mackinnon will draw on his extensive experience and knowledge as a former Scottish Government Chief Planner. His appointment follows a meeting that Confor organised between the sector and Fergus Ewing on 30 June, where it was suggested that a person with planning experience could bring a new perspective to the process of approving applications to plant new woodland.

This appointment is seen as the first part of the Scottish Government’s response to the key issues which the sector has presented to Fergus Ewing. The outcome of Mr Mackinnon’s work is expected to inform any changes required to achieve an improved process, especially for large and complex new planting proposals.

“We welcome the appointment of Jim Mackinnon, and understand that he will report within three months,” said Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall. “The Cabinet Secretary has been quick to understand that there is a need and an opportunity to speed up the application process – a commitment made in the SNP’s manifesto for the recent Holyrood elections, and has met with the sector to discuss how that can be achieved.”

While this rapid analysis takes place, Confor continues to press the Scottish and UK Governments to provide reassurance to the sector about continued support for new planting post-Brexit.

* For further information contact Stuart Goodall: