Perth and Argyll Forestry Forum

Meeting minutes

Future meetings are currently scheduled for:

  • 30 March 2017
  • 15 June 2017
  • 5 October 2017

Forum members

Chair: Richard Stirling-Aird

  • Career in land and property management and agency since 1968. FRICS.
  • 12 years on private estates, Drummond Castle, and Buccleuch Estates (Drumlanrig).
  • 28 years with Savills, Partner and Director dealing with wide variety of properties and clients throughout Scotland, also forestry properties in England and Wales.
  • Instigated Savills Forestry Department, forestry management, agency and valuation.
  • Former panel valuer for FC Scotland.
  • Chair various committees, former SLF, RICS and RSFS.
  • Resident Trustee, Kippendavie Estate, Dunblane; 800Ha including 300Ha woodland, farming, development projects.
  • Trustee, Arniston Estate, Midlothian.
  • Chair, Dunblane Museum Trustees.
  • Fellow, Royal Meteorological Society.

Ian Stewart (Collace, Perthshire)

  • Employed by James Jones & Sons Ltd. as Timber Assessor and Woodland Manager
  • Graduate of Aberdeen University and Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters
  • 25 years of experience in forestry and timber harvesting with particular interest in timber measurement and quality assessment
  • Certificate of Professional Competence in Road Haulage Operations

Ian Thomas (Perthshire)

  • Self employed forestry/land use consultant
  • Accredited professional adviser for the Farm Business Accreditation Scheme
  • Member of Institute of Chartered Foresters, Royal Scottish Forestry Society and CONFOR
  • Keen interest in freshwater ecology

Deborah Long (Plantlife)

  • BA Hons in Geography and French, PhD in palaeoecological reconstruction of Bronze Age landscapes
  • Programme Manager at Plantlife Scotland, responsible for delivering Plantlife’s programmes throughout Scotland
  • Specialises in designing and delivering conservation and advisory programmes in woodland and open habitats, policy work with a focus on biodiversity and governance and outreach work to enthuse and inspire communities and families to get involved in plant and fungi conservation.
  • Chair of Scottish Environment LINK & represents LINK on wide range of committees and groups.
  • Honorary Fellow of Royal Scottish Geographic Society
  • Former Manager at Kilmartin House Trust, delivering research and arts projects as part of the museum’s interpretation of the prehistoric landscape.

Mark Aitken (SEPA)

  • Currently a Principal Policy Officer for SEPA, leading on land and soil policy development and its implementation.
  • Formerly Manager of SEPA's Land Policy Unit.
  • Prior to joining SEPA in 2004, was a Team Leader and Principal Consultant in Land Management with Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). Earlier roles in SAC were Senior Soil Consultant; Specialist Adviser and Lecturer in Environmental Science.
  • Prior to joining SAC in 1992, was a Soil Science Adviser with ADAS.
  • Member of the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group (2011-12), SRUC Council, UK Advisory Board for Linking Environment & Farming (LEAF); Moorland Forum; UK Agencies Land Use Policy Group and also Rural Advisory Group.
  • BSc (Hons) in Soil Science (Aberdeen, 1984).

Andy Robinson

  • MSc Ecology
  • BA (Hons) Geography
  • RSPB Conservation Officer in Argyll and Bute
  • Responsible for overseeing delivering of RSPB’s conservation strategy throughout the Argyll area
  • Worked in Conservation over 20 years, for both landowning conservation NGO’s and SNH

Andrew Vaughan

  • District Manager for Tilhill Forestry Central Scotland district, which comprises 8 forest managers responsible for 18,300ha of managed client properties throughout the Central Belt, Stirlingshire, Perthshire, Angus and south Aberdeenshire.
  • Particular specialisms: woodland creation, investment forestry, tree condition surveys, lowland path works, generating project funding.
  • Fellow and exam Assessor of the Institute of Chartered Foresters.
  • Member of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust Delivery Committee.

Carol Evans

  • Director for Scotland for the Woodland Trust since 2010
  • BSc (Hons) Biology and Psychology (Stirling, 1983)

Fergus Murray

  • Graduate of University of Glasgow 1987 in Planning and a member of the RTPI since 1990 and SLAED since 2014.
  • Senior manager in local government for over 16 years specialising in strategic policy development, project implementation, attracting external funding and partnership working.
  • Former Chair of the Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy Group that produced the award winning Forestry Strategy.
  • Currently Head of Economic Development and Strategic Transportation with Argyll and Bute Council focussing on economic growth and diversification.

Murray Cook

  • MA Hons and Ph.D. in Archaeology
  • Archaeologist at Stirling Council with over 20 years’ experience in Scotland and northern England
  • Former Director AOC Archaeology
  • Member Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
  • Fellow of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Harriet Donald

  • Land Use Manager at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority responsible for the delivery of pro-active delivery of land management projects that contribute to the targets in the National Park Partnership Plan. This involves managing a team to deliver integrated land management plans to provide strategic direction for farms and estates in the National Park, targeted agri-environment schemes, peatland restoration projects and the delivery of woodland and forestry schemes to meet specified priorities;
  • MRICS rural chartered surveyor previously employed in private estate management in Aberdeenshire. Sit on the Perth and Argyll Forestry Forum, SRUC Kirkton Advisory Group, Argyll & the Isles Agricultural Forum and Central Scotland Black Grouse Study Group;
  • Tenant of Forestry Commission Scotland on a starter farm in Stirlingshire and sit on the Scottish Government Farming Opportunities for New Entrants group.

Lucy Sumsion

  • Since 2009 employed by NFU Scotland as Regional Manager for Argyll & the Islands and also covers crofting policy.
  • From 2002 to 2009 employed by the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) as a Farm Conservation Advisor; during this time I was Project Co-ordinator for the West Highland Woodland Grazing Project (WHWGP).
  • Previously involved in the management of a small West Highland estate, covering both farm and woodland management plus running a garden centre specialising in trees.
  • Qualified in 1999 with a degree in Environmental Science from Stirling University.
  • Main interest in forestry and woodlands has been focusing on integrating farming and woodland management. During the period of the WHWGP I worked with a number of partners, including FCS and SNH to further develop and promote conservation grazing of woodlands as a viable option for the management of native woodlands. This work culminated in the launch of the SRDP Rural Priorities Woodland Grazing Option in 2010 and the further development of the Woodland Grazing Toolbox.