The First Minister (FM), Nicola Sturgeon, highlights forestry in a statement setting out Scotland’s 2017-18 Programme for Government.
Sturgeon states Scotland’s forests and woodlands provide around £1 billion in GVA annually to the economy, supports approximately 25,000 jobs and helps to meet climate change targets. The FM emphasises that to meet the current annual target of creating 10,000 hectares of woodland, tree planting must become a shared national endeavour.
The government sets out to:
- ‘complete the devolution of forestry and establish a modern framework for forestry in Scotland through the Forestry and Land Management Bill
- implement the Mackinnon report in full, including streamlining the approval process for good quality planting applications
- increase the budget for woodland creation by £4 million in 2017-18 and work with timber users to develop, promote and facilitate the use of home-grown Scottish wood
- support the development of partnerships involving communities, public and private sector investors to plant more trees and create more woodlands
- evaluate current practice around reinstatement of trees removed during development of infrastructure
- work with a refreshed Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group to develop a long-term action plan to identify and exploit strategic opportunities for economic growth in the sector’
Shireen Chambers FICFor, ICF Executive Director, comments on Scotland’s 2017-18 Programme for Government:
“We welcome a commitment to the forestry sector and look forward to discussions on the details of some of the proposals. The Institute will continue to champion professionalism in Scotland and play our part in supporting this going forward. We are working with FCS to implement the Mackinnon report and are pleased that this is highlighted in the First Minister’s 2017-18 Programme for Government, Scotland.”
The FM stresses that wildlife and plant species must also be protected as key natural resources. Sturgeon illustrates the importance of expanding our greenspace to improve the quality of people’s lives and help tackle inequalities.
Full 2017-18 Programme for Government can be found on the GOV.Scot website.