Forestry bill to ‘catch up 50 years’

The Oban Times - - Farming -

THE SCOT­TISH Par­lia­ment will con­sider forestry leg­is­la­tion for the first time in its his­tory af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of a Forestry and Land Man­age­ment (Scot­land) Bill.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment hopes Scot­land’s £1 bil­lion forestry sec­tor, which sup­ports 25,000 jobs, will ‘ ben­e­fit from the bill’s mod­ern ap­proach to forestry de­vel­op­ment, sup­port and reg­u­la­tion’.

The bill aims to de­liver ‘im­proved ac­count­abil­ity’ and a ‘more ef­fec­tive use of Scot­land’s pub­licly- owned land’. Sep­a­rate to the bill, min­is­ters will also cre­ate a new ex­ec­u­tive agency Forestry and Land Scot­land and a ded­i­cated forestry di­vi­sion within gov­ern­ment.

Carol Evans, Wood­land Trust Scot­land di­rec­tor, said: ‘This forestry bill is an op­por­tu­nity for the of­fi­cial def­i­ni­tion of forestry to catch up with 50 years of im­proved prac­tice on the ground. Mod­ern forestry is no longer just about tim­ber sup­ply but about sus­tain­able for­est man­age­ment, bio­di­ver­sity, car­bon se­ques­tra­tion, com­mu­nity en­gage­ment and tourism.’

Ru­ral econ­omy sec­re­tary Fergus Ewing said: ‘Scot­land’s forests and wood­lands are among our most valu­able ru­ral assets. We will con­tinue to work to en­sure forestry plays a lead­ing role in Scot­tish com­mu­ni­ties for gen­er­a­tions.’

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