Confor welcomes SNP manifesto pledges

CONFOR has welcomed commitments to significant new tree planting and reducing bureaucracy around woodland applications in the SNP's manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections.

The manifesto, launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at a huge event at the EICC today, also highlights the role that forestry can play in reducing future flood risks.

Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall, who was invited to attend the launch as a representative of the sector, said it was very encouraging that the manifesto had a significant section on forestry.

The manifesto pledges to "plant 10,000 hectares of new woodland every year to 2022" - around 22 million trees per year - "and work to hasten the pace of application and approval of planting".

The manifesto continues: "We will deliver support for woodland creation and improvement through the Forestry Grant Scheme.In particular, we will support the planting of woodland which can help prevent flooding and assist in water basin management."

Stuart Goodall said: "I'm very pleased to see Nicola Sturgeon confirm the SNP's determination to plant the new forests that Scotland needs to secure the future of a successful, rural industry that contributes £1 billion a year to the economy and employs over 25000 people.

"It's a major step forward that the manifesto identifies the need for applications for tree planting to be speeded up as well as the recognition of the benefit that tree planting can play in mitigating the threat of floods to Scotland's communities."