Forestry consultation "a once-in-a-generation opportunity" for sector

Forestry body Confor has welcomed a new Scottish Government consultation on the industry, which began yesterday (31 August).

Image: Christine McIntosh (CC-BY-ND 2.0)
Image: Christine McIntosh (CC-BY-ND 2.0)

Its chief executive Stuart Goodall said: "Scotland is the clear UK leader in forestry and there is now a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish a support and regulatory structure that can build on and further strengthen that leadership position."

The industry contributes £1bn a year to the economy and employs over 25,000 people, according to Confor. "While other sectors have struggled to recover from the 2008 downturn, Scotland's forestry and wood processing industry has grown by 50 per cent," Goodall added.

Running until 9 November, The Future of Forestry in Scotland consultation seeks views on new organisational arrangements for Forestry Commission Scotland, future cross-border co-ordination on forestry, and the framing of new supporting legislation.

Confor has called for "a continued strong core of professional civil servants within the Scottish Government devoted to forestry with the expertise to understand and support modern forestry practices".

It also gave its support to the Forestry Commission's own production forestry resource, describing it as "a key asset that has helped support the significant growth of wood processing in Scotland".

"The private forestry sector now provides a majority of the wood consumed in Scotland by mills, but the productive woodland managed by the Forestry Commission is also very important," Goodall added.

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