The Scottish Government is consulting on the future of forestry in Scotland. The consultation, launched on 31 August and which runs through to 9 November 2016, is primarily about completing the devolution of forestry to make the management of forestry directly accountable to Scottish Ministers. It is available on the Scottish Government website.
Although the Scottish Ministers determine strategy and policy for forestry in Scotland, the management of forestry - including of the National Forest Estate - has remained with the Forestry Commissioners, which is a UK Non-Ministerial Department and, since devolution, a cross-border public authority. The Government’s intentions are to:
- To introduce new organisational arrangements so that the management of forestry in Scotland is fully accountable to the Scottish Ministers and to the Scottish Parliament.
- To ensure that we have in place effective cross-border arrangements where those suit Scottish needs.
- To replace the Forestry Act 1967 with a modern approach to the development, support and regulation of forestry.
The proposed new arrangements include establishing a forestry and land management agency called “Forestry and Land Scotland”. The body will focus initially on the development and management of the National Forest Estate. Government will also explore how best to extend the new agency’s remit to maximise the benefits of publicly owned land. It is also proposed that the other current functions of Forestry Commission Scotland are undertaken by an arm of Government.
Scottish Land & Estates will be responding to this consultation. Thoughts and feedback should be provided to Anne Gray at HQ.