Mr Goodall welcomed the emphasis on retaining the expertise of forestry professionals in the papers accompanying the Bill and the intention to place forestry at the heart of future rural policy and action on climate change, but added: “The new Forestry Bill, unlike the 1967 Bill that it replaces, does not place a duty on the Scottish Government to expand forestry in Scotland. We were pleased when the Scottish Government committed, in January, to increasing tree planting targets to tackle climate change and increase the use of home-grown timber – and we look forward to seeing it follow through on that commitment.”
Mr Goodall continued: "The Scottish forestry success story needs more planting of modern, productive forests to secure a bright future for people and wildlife. 21st Century forests are great places for wildlife and people, they provide a raw material to build homes, tackle climate change and deliver tens of thousands of rural jobs.
“We need effective collaboration between the public and private sector and a very pragmatic approach to tackling problems which stand in the way of tree planting." Mr Goodall said this included implementing the recommendations of the recent Mackinnon report, under former Chief Planner Jim Mackinnon, which examined the barriers to creating new woodland.
He added: "Tree planting is starting to increase again in Scotland, which we need to guarantee jobs and investment in the long term. This new Bill recognises that forestry is a very long-term business and Confor will continue to work with all parties to develop the emerging consensus around securing the future success of the forestry industry."
"It’s clear looking at the document published by Fergus Ewing today that this bill is a complex piece of legislation that will require wider support in the Scottish Parliament and co-operation with the UK Government. Confor will examine carefully the detail of what is proposed, then publish our comments on the draft legislation. We need to ensure this bill gives Scottish Ministers the right powers to support our industry to grow further, and to deliver on its commitment to increased tree planting."
In January, The Scottish Government announced plans to increase its tree planting target from 10,000 hectares per year to 15,000 hectares per year by 2025. The new targets for woodland creation were revealed to the Scottish Parliament by Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham as part of the Scottish Government's Draft Climate Change plan. She also revealed plans to increase the use of Scottish wood products in construction from its current level of 2.2 million cubic metres to 2.6 million cubic metres by 2021-22 and 3 million cubic metres by 2031-2.