Scottish Government opens consultation on future of forestry
Forest - credit: PA
The Scottish Government has opened its consultation on the future of forestry in Scotland.
The consultation, which will run until 9 November 2016, will examine issues relating to the devolution of forestry management.
The Scottish Government proposes the creation of ‘Forestry and Land Scotland’, which would initially focus on management and development of the National Forest Estate, though its remit could be expanded in future.
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It also proposes establishing a dedicated Forestry Division in the Scottish Government “to take forward policy and regulation activities”.
The consultation will gather views on creating a new legislative framework for the development, support and regulation of forestry and the priorities for cross-border forestry arrangements.
Ministers currently have control over strategy and policy for forestry in Scotland but management comes under the remit of the cross-border UK Forestry Commissioners.
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”.