Plan to complete devolution of £1bn forestry sector

In its plan to complete devolution of Scotland’s £1 billion forestry sector, the Scottish Government is seeking views on its proposals “to keep Scotland’s forests in public ownership and enhance the sector’s economic, environmental and social benefits.”

The “Future of Forestry” consultation stresses that the sector is worth £1 billion annually in Scotland and supports about 25,000 jobs.

Scottish Ministers currently determine strategy and policy for forestry in Scotland but the management of forestry — including of the Scottish Ministers’ National Forest Estate — has remained with the Forestry Commissioners, a UK non-ministerial department and, since devolution, a cross-border public authority.

The Scottish Government is proposing:

• The creation of Forestry and Land Scotland, which will focus initially on management and development of the National Forest Estate

• A dedicated Forestry Division in the Scottish Government to take forward policy and regulation activities

• Potential for expanding the remit of Forestry and Land Scotland in the future to maximise the benefit of other publicly-owned land

• A new, modern legislative framework for the development, support and regulation of forestry

• Priorities for cross-border arrangements that suit Scotland’s needs

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish forestry sector is at the heart of many rural communities, worth £1 billion annually and supporting 25,000 jobs.

“It also plays a pivotal role in tackling climate change, protecting and growing biodiversity, natural flood management and in improving general health and wellbeing across Scotland.

“Today, we are launching a consultation on plans to complete the devolution of forestry.

“The consultation responses will inform and shape our policy, supporting forestry as one of our most important natural assets for generations to come and ensuring that it continues to deliver for the nation and communities across the country.”

Read the full consultation paper here: