Forest Enterprise Scotland restructuring proposal sparks controversy

The Forestry Commission has responded to claims in the Sunday Herald newspaper that it plans to shed environmental experts from its staff.

Image: Cairngorms Business Partnership (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Cairngorms Business Partnership (CC BY 2.0)

The Commission says the cuts being considered are within the Land Management and Community & Visitor Services of Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES), which manages Scotland's National Forest Estate, as part of a plan to replace the current 10 Forest Districts with five regional teams, and adds that relevant uninons have been involved.

A Forest Enterprise Scotland spokesman said: "We are currently exploring ways in which we can improve the management of the National Forest Estate in Scotland.

"Forest Enterprise Scotland has recently received a detailed response from the Trade Unions on the proposals and we are now giving this careful consideration. We understand the Unions’ concerns and will continue engaging with them before any future decisions are taken."

The unions involved have not commented directly on the case. But think tank the Forest Policy Group co-founder Willie McGhee said: "Removing social and environmental roles [from FES] would clearly threaten the quality of what it does on environmental and social benefits."

RSPB Scotland head of species and land management Duncan Orr-Ewing added: "We are very concerned that the multi-purpose forestry ethos is at risk, including a raft of conservation programmes."

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