Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) has been battling the extreme winter weather to bring out as much timber from its forests as possible.

A spokesperson said that most of FCS’s customers are now closed for the Christmas holidays, or are in the process of closing.

“So to some extent the pressure is off,” he said. “However, [we have continued to] try to keep things moving. Where we have experienced access problems – which is in nearly all our districts in the current weather – preventing us either accessing stocks or getting to worksites, we have been ploughing and gritting forest roads where possible. This in itself has been a difficult task given the repeated snowfalls, which undo all the good work done previously.”

In areas where snowfall has been so heavy that normal access has been blocked, FCS has switched focus to accessible sites close to public roads.

“In certain instances we have also opted to forward timber from in-forest stacking areas to suitable access points,” said the spokesperson.

In addition, FCS has told local authorities that it will assist them with road clearance, especially where this provides access to more remote forest blocks.

FCS is now monitoring output from Scotland’s National Forest Estate on a daily basis and liaising with customers over access issues.

“Despatches have varied from a low of 21% to 87% of normal over the past two to three weeks,” said the spokesperson. “The lows have been on days of extreme conditions, but the highs have come very quickly after, which demonstrates ongoing work to open up access.”