Scotland had lion's share of new woods last year - but still fell short of target

Scotland was responsible for 78% of new woodland creation in the UK last year, according to new figures.

Image: Forestry Commission Scotland
Image: Forestry Commission Scotland

A total of 7,100ha of new woodland was planted north of the border, around 60% being "productive" planting, the rest native. This marks the highest level of productive planting since 2000, according to the Forestry Commission, which collated the figures.

The new planting figures would have been higher but extreme winter weather delayed over 800 hectares of planting until later in the year, too late to be included in the reporting period, it added.

However the annual target of planting 10,000 hectares each year has not been reached - though plans and approvals already made for more tree planting suggest 2018's figure will be higher still.

Forestry Commission Scotland head of sustainable forest management Helen Sellars said: "These are encouraging figures. The 2018/19 Forestry Grants Scheme budget has been increased from £40m to £46m to enable more woodland and tree planting projects to go ahead next planting season."

She said of the current year: "Already, over 9,000 ha of private sector schemes have been approved and Forest Enterprise Scotland expects to create around 650ha on the National Forest Estate. A further 2,500ha of schemes have been submitted to Forestry Commission Scotland for consideration."

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