Confor welcomes Forestry Bill

22 March 2018

Confor has welcomed the Scottish Parliament’s backing of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill, including the decision not to implement a single forest agency in Scotland.

Confor and forestry unions had lobbied the Scottish Government to ditch an amendment to create a single agency in devolution plans, saying any loss of public corporation status for Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) could lead to the loss of £30m funding – potentially hitting the forestry sector hard and threatening jobs in the rural economy across Scotland.

The parliament voted for a two agency approach with Forestry Commission Scotland and FES continuing as two entities outside government, albeit with possible new names, and FES’s public corporation status protected.

However, detail on the new approach is still to be discussed and Confor says it will keep a close eye on proceedings.

Stuart Goodall, Confor CEO, said the Forestry Bill modernises the out-dated legislative framework for forestry and that Confor was pleased at MSP’s undivided backing for the bill, which enshrines woodland creation and tree-planting targets as part of a new forestry strategy, as well as creating a new chief forester role.