Positive TV feature on forestry

31 October 2016

Confor has continued its work to explain the story of modern forestry more clearly with a feature on BBC Scotland's flagship rural affairs programme Landward.

The programme saw Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall explain to presenter Euan McIlwraith that perceptions of the sector are often based on what happened 30 or more years ago - and that modern forestry is very different. 

On a visit to the Glen Tanar Estate and Burnroot sawmill in Deeside, Mr McIlwraith admitted to his surprise that forestry employs so many people in the rural economy across Scotland. The most recent analysis said forestry and timber provided more than 25,000 jobs in Scotland and contributed £1 billion annually to the Scottish economy. 

At the James Jones & Sons Burnroot sawmill, joint Managing Director Ian Pirie explained that the mill employed 50 people, all from the local area, rising to 150 when the wider impacts of the mill were considered. 

Michael Bruce, owner and manager of the Glen Tanar estate, told the programme that around half of the 28 people he employs are linked to the forests on the estate. He said: "I have been running this business for 28 years and every year, forestry has been a core contributor to the estate economy." He also described how other estate activities like horse riding used the tracks through the forests at Glen Tanar. 

Stuart Goodall said this was a "very exciting time" for Scottish forestry, with the trees planted from the 1960s, 70s and 80s being harvested and supporting a very significant wood processing industry - exemplified by sites like Burnroot. 

Mr Goodall said: "Programmes like this - shot in beautiful locations but with a strong message about rural employment and economic growth - are vital in explaining the real story of modern forestry.  

"We have a very positive story to tell about the difference we are making to Scotland's economy, environment and communities. And the consultation on the future of forestry [which ends on November 9th] highlights the once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that a strong focus on new planting now can ensure those benefits are delivered in our rural communities for generations to come." 

Watch the programme here - the forestry feature starts at 1m18s.