Confor welcomes positive approach to forestry in Scotland

5 September 2018

Confor has reacted positively to the Scottish Government's Programme for Government and its section on forestry. 

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: "I'm very pleased to see the positive re-statement of the ambitious target for new planting to support the £1 billion forestry and wood processing industry in Scotland and the 25,000-plus jobs it provides.

"The document clearly says the Scottish Government WILL plant 10,000 hectares every year and increase this by a further 50 per cent by 2025. More importantly, this is not just a paper target, but one that could be hit this year.

"It's also good to see a pledge to set out a 'long-term vision and objectives for forestry and woodlands' with the forthcoming National Forestry Strategy. 

"The Programme also describes our forestry industry, accurately, as 'a future-proofed carbon negative industry' which delivers benefits to our environment, biodiversity and wellbeing as well as our economy. We also welcome the focus on new technology and future skills.

"Confor looks forward to continuing its constructive relationship with Fergus Ewing and his team to make this ambitious forestry future a reality."

The section on forestry is on Page 50 of the Programme for Government. It says:

"Scotland’s forestry industry is a future-proofed carbon negative industry that is worth £1 billion a year while protecting our environment, biodiversity and enhancing our wellbeing. 

"We will plant more trees and make more of our forestry resources. We will meet our target of planting 10,000 hectares of woodland every year, and increase this by a further 50% by 2025. In the coming year, we will deliver a National Forestry Strategy setting out our long-term vision and objectives for forestry and woodlands and by April 2019 we will have new arrangements in place for forestry in Scotland.

"We will manage woodlands and forests more efficiently with better technology. We will use remotely-sensed data to develop new information on tree-felling activity to ensure that Scotland’s woodland area is increasing and following consultation, put in place new regulations relating to the control of felling. To increase skilled opportunities for young people in forestry, a new Forest Machine Operators Modern Apprenticeship scheme will be operational by the end of the year."