Scottish Parliament to debate forestry

18 January 2017

A Scottish Government debate on Delivering Forestry in Scotland will take place in the Holyrood Parliament next Tuesday, it has been confirmed.

Confor has welcomed the debate as part of an increasing focus on forestry in Scotland, where the sector contributes £1 billion annually to the economy and employs more than 25,000 people. 

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, has made clear his ambition for further growth in the sector by driving up planting to meet the 10,000-hectare annual target. 

After Confor highlighted concerns with the process of approving planting schemes, and the suggestion to learn from the planning sector, the Cabinet Secretary appointed ex-chief planner Jim Mackinnon, whose recent report contained practical proposals to make the process smoother.  

More money was allocated to tree planting in the Scottish Government's budget last month, and Confor has welcomed cross-party support, in particular from both the SNP Government and the 31-strong Conservative group, for more planting to support both the rural economy and Scotland's climate change objectives. 

Stuart Goodall, Confor's Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted that the Scottish Parliament is debating forestry. 

"We have worked very closely with Fergus Ewing and his team to identify where improvements can be made to drive up planting. It is great to see the momentum now developing to drive forward the forestry and wood sector - and the growing understanding of its enormous potential in Scotland."  

Confor will produce a briefing paper for MSPs ahead of the debate - and is encouraging its members in Scotland to contact their local MSP ahead of the debate to encourage them to take part in the debate.