Confederation of Forest Industries call for action after tree-planting targets fall short

Scotland's tree and forestry businesses have called on their politicians to step in following the failure to hit Government tree-planting targets.

Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confederation of Forest Industries, said: "All parties support the expansion of Scotland's forests.

"Yet the latest figures are likely to show we've again failed to meet targets for new planting. We need action now to tackle problems with the forestry grant scheme."

The Government's target aimed at 10,000 ha of new forest a year, but latest figures were likely to show planting levels had fallen to below 3,000 ha, he said.

"Planting is likely to be 7,000ha below target. Firms are cutting back and jobs are under threat, said Stuart Goodall. "We need action now to release the public funds."

He said the sector that delivered on climate change, contributed nearly £700m to the Scottish economy and was responsible for 40,000 jobs.

But a recent industry survey by the confederation found that over 50 per cent of businesses in the sector had postponed planned investment.

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