Planting more trees "at heart of Green Brexit", says Gove

Tree planting "has a role to play in managing flood risks, helping wildlife to thrive, and simply providing a beautiful place for people to live and work", Defra secretary Michael Gove has said on a visit to a large new plantation in central Scotland.

Left to right: Stuart Goodall, Stephen Kerr, MP for Stirling, Michael Gove, Tim Liddon. Image: Confor
Left to right: Stuart Goodall, Stephen Kerr, MP for Stirling, Michael Gove, Tim Liddon. Image: Confor

Planted and managed by Tilhill Forestry, the Jerah planting scheme in the Ochil Hills, on the borders of Stirlingshire, Perthshire and Clackmannanshire, is one of the largest single forestry planting projects in the UK, with more than 1.3 million trees across 16 species.

Forestry inductry body Confor arranged the secretary of state's visit to demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of modern productive forestry, with its chief executive Stuart Goodall briefing Gove on the scheme’s benefits for the environment, economy and local community.

"Forestry is vital to the UK’s economy, and at Jerah I saw first-hand the role tree planting has to play in managing flood risks, helping wildlife to thrive, and simply providing a beautiful place for people to live and work," Gove said.

"Through successful schemes like Doddington Moor in Northumberland and ambitious plans for a Northern Forest along the M62 corridor, planting more trees will be at the heart of our work to deliver a Green Brexit."

Stuart Goodall added: "Michael Gove has made very positive comments about the role of forestry in delivering a cleaner, greener future for the UK and it is extremely important to show him practical examples of what modern productive forestry can deliver."

Jerah has been designed as a modern productive woodland and is also intended to help reduce flood risks in the nearby village of Menstrie, as well as boosting black grouse populations in the area.

Just 41% of the 1,000-hectare site is dedicated to timber production, with the balance comprising open ground and native woodland for landscape, environmental and public amenity benefit.

Tilhill Forestry director of forestry Tim Liddon said: "The Tilhill team is very proud of what we have achieved at Jerah. We need politicians to visit sites like this to see for themselves what mixed modern forestry looks like - and what it can deliver."

The site was named best new commercial forest scheme at Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards last July.


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