Bright future for National Forest Estate

Scotland’s National Forest Estate now has a bright future and unique opportunity to strengthen its delivery of economic, environmental and social benefits.

That was the key message from Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing when he undertook his first visit to Forest Enterprise Scotland’s (FES) headquarters in Inverness to meet staff.

Now that the Forestry and Land (Scotland) Bill has been passed by the Scottish Parliament, FES will become a new agency in April 2019 called Forestry and Land Scotland.

Under the new agency, the National Forest Estate will have scope to have greater flexibility in the way it is managed for the people of Scotland.

During the visit, Mr Ewing said:

“There are very positive changes planned for the future of forestry and the new Forestry and Land Scotland agency will have a key role in making this happen.

“Staff with enthusiasm, pride and professionalism are the backbone of any organisation. I’m very encouraged to see all those traits in the staff I met today in Inverness.

“FES has a reputation for rolling up its sleeves and delivering on the ground and this will stand them in good stead for the new agency and beyond.”

As well as visiting the headquarters, Mr Ewing plans to meet staff in the other local (FES) offices around the country.

Under the new agency, there will continue to be the existing network of local offices and a headquarters in Inverness.

Forest Enterprise Scotland manages the 640,000 hectare National Forest Estate which currently contributes over £1 million to the Scottish economy each day and supports 11,000 jobs across a range of sectors.

Around 10 million visits are made to the National Forest Estate each year, bringing in £110 million annually to Scotland’s forest tourism economy.

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