Scottish budget includes funding rise for forestry

7 February 2020

The Scottish Government’s continued commitment to forestry has been praised by Confor - after an additional £6 million was allocated in the Budget. Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor, welcomed the extra support for the industry as part of the Scottish Government’s focus on tackling climate change.

Mr Goodall said: “In the year that COP26 comes to Scotland, this is further recognition that tree planting and wood use have a key role to play in addressing the climate emergency.

“I strongly welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver on its tree planting targets with an extra £6 million allocated in the coming year. Against a backdrop of the new UK Government’s commitment to plant 30,000 hectares a year by 2025 across the UK, Scotland is showing the way by planting 84 per cent of all trees last year. 

“Scotland is now on track to increase this to 15,000 hectares a year by 2025. The Government is putting its money where its mouth is because it understands the multiple benefits that forestry and wood can deliver - not just for climate change, but for wildlife, people and the economy.

“Forestry and wood processing is a £1 billion-plus industry in Scotland, employing more than 25,000 people - but it is also a long-term business which requires long-term planning. This continued support for the industry by the Scottish Government, with strong leadership from Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing, gives businesses confidence to invest - delivering more well-paid jobs in our rural areas."

Mr Goodall urged all parties in the Scottish Parliament to support the Budget, which allocates a total of £64 million to forestry. 

After beating its tree planting target of 10,000 hectares in 2018/19 (11,200 hectares were planted), the Scottish Government has committed to increasing planting to 15,000 hectares annually by the mid-2020s.

During the December 2019 election campaign, the SNP backed Confor’s longer-term aspiration - to plant 18,000 hectares of  forests annually (around 36 million trees) in Scotland by 2030.