Fergus Ewing launches consultation on Forestry Strategy for Scotland
Fergus Ewing has called for views on the future of forestry in Scotland, with the aim of increasing woodland area and delivering more economic, social and environmental benefits to the country.
MSPs passed the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill in March, which will bring forestry under the control of the Scottish Parliament.
The new draft Forestry Strategy for Scotland, expected to be finalised in 2019, will aim to provide a ten year framework for forestry policy.
The Rural Economy Secretary said: “In April next year, the forestry devolution process will have been completed and forestry in Scotland will begin a new chapter.
“Scottish ministers will be fully accountable for forestry and two new forestry agencies will come into being.
“It is only fitting that we also establish a new, long-term vision for forestry that increases our woodland area and delivers more economic, social and environmental benefits whilst protecting and enhancing our forest resources so that they provide more benefits for more people in 50 to 100 years’ time.
“It is also fitting that this strategy is being developed in Scotland’s Year of Young People because our young people will grow up with our trees, and reap the benefits for themselves and their children.”
The Scottish Government said the strategy will concentrate on increasing the contribution of forests and woodlands to sustainable economic growth, especially in rural communities.
It will also aim to protect and enhance Scotland’s natural assets, ensuring they are resilient and contribute to a high quality environment, and ensure that more people are empowered to use forests and woodlands.
The consultation will run until 29 November 2018.
The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill received Royal Assent in May, with the Forestry Act 1967 remaining in force until the new legislation commences on 1 April 2019.