Minutes of the Perth and Argyll meeting 16 March 2011

Present:
Syd House (SH)
Rick Worrell (RW)
Ian Thomas (IT)
Ian Stewart (IS)
Penny Cousins (PC)
Charlotte Flower (CF)
Sheila Clark (SC)
Grant Moir (GM)
Dennis Dick (DD)
Gillian Mackenzie (GMack)

Guests:
Hugh Clayden - Policy Adviser FCS (HC)
Nick Mainprize – Operational Manager FCS (NM)
Charlie Taylor – Forest District Manager FCS Tay Forest District (CT)
Matt Ritchie - FCS Archaeologist (MR)
Raymond Henderson - for Bidwells

Apologies:
Fergus Younger
Steve Luuker

1. Welcome and introductions

Rick Worrell welcomed everyone to the meeting. Rick also thanked Ian for acting as Chairperson during the last RFF meeting.

2. Roundtable update

Everyone introduced themselves, for the benefit of Gillian Mackenzie who was attending in place of Sharon Davis as Secretary.

Ian Stewart
Ian updated the forum with his work with the Central Scottish Green Network.

Grant Moir
New by-laws to ban camping in certain areas of east Loch Lomondside have been approved by the Scottish government. The new seasonal laws make it an offence to camp in tents or other shelters in the nine-mile stretch between Drymen and Rowardennan, outside designated camping areas. It was suggested that the forum should be provided with an update on this after the camping season.

Action 1: GM to update RFF members

Charlotte Flower
Charlotte mentioned that she had been in contact with 38 the organisation who operated the “Save Our Forests” campaign. The “Save Our Forests” campaign had received an overwhelming response, the highest they had seen in the 3 years they had been operating.

Ian Thomas
Ian gave the forum a quick report on the current timber markets.

Syd House
In addition to agenda item 9 and 10, Syd reported that the recent Timber Transport meeting in Argyll was very productive and positive. Penny and Shiela both felt that there is very little interaction between Timber Transport groups and communities.

Action 2: SH to provide SC/PC with Timber Transport contacts.
Action 3: Update on Timber Transport to be a rolling agenda item.

Charlie Taylor
Charlie explained that he has been in involved with work associated with the end of financial year and the work associated with the recent bad weather we had experienced.

Hugh Clayden
Hugh provided the forum with a quick update on Plant Health, specifically Phytophpora and the events that his is running on the topic of Phytophpora.

3. Minutes and Matters Arising

The action points and minutes from the previous meeting were agreed. Action point 1 as per previous meeting, Rick to disseminate information supplied to him from Ian Stewart to all forum members for information.

Action 4: RW to action

Previous Action Point 6
No comments/ideas received to date.

4. Change in Woodland Cover

Nick Mainprize gave a presentation on monitoring loss of total forest area and productive forest area. A copy of this presentation can be obtained from Perth and Argyll Conservancy.

Better monitoring of woodland removal is required so that an accurate figure for net woodland area (woodland creation – woodland removal) is available to inform policy. As most woodland removal comprises productive conifer, the woodland removal figure is also important for production.

These figures should be produced annually and linked with other annual statistics, the National Forest Inventory, and Production Forecasts.

Primary responsibility for data collection should rest with Conservancies. This will include data relating to the national forest estate. Nick showed the RFF a spreadsheet designed by Perth and Argyll Conservancy with the intention that other Conservancies and National Office can feed data into this spreadsheet.

Nick then supplied the forum with a project outline:

1. Area data should be collated for known cases of major, intentional woodland removal (as defined in the policy on control of woodland removal) in the period 2000-2010.

2. From Forest Plans approved in the period 2000-2010 (avoiding duplication if plans were refreshed during this period) collate and summarise:

- area to be felled
- area to be restocked

3. From Forest Plans approved in the period 2000-2010 (avoiding duplication if plans were refreshed during this period) collate and summarise intentions comparing current and future species composition in the following categories:

- conifer
- other conifeR
- broadleaves (productive)
- native broadleaves
- open space.

4. Comment on the feasibility and cost (time) for keeping running records (from April 2011) onwards of:

a) all new, approved Forest Plans and Felling licence approvals in the year showing:

- area to be felled
- area to be restocked

b) all new, approved Forest Plans and Felling licences in the year comparing current and future species composition in the categories: conifer, other conifer, broadleaves (productive), native broadleaves, and open space.

A pilot is currently underway with Perth and Argyll Conservancy within the Perth and Kinross Council area.

A discussion then followed with the forum members on this topic. A sub group meeting is to take place in April including John Dougan Head and Grants and Regulations.

Action point 5: NM to report back to RFF on the outcome of sub-group meeting.

5. RFF Social Forestry Project

Penny Cousins presented the forum with a review of her report on Social Forestry. Work to date:

  • Obtaining policy documents from FCS and local authorities
  • CWA Membership Map
  • Internet research to profile PARFF organisations
  • FCS Date (NFLS Applications, WIAT/F4P, FEI, Health)
  • Project Mapping
  • Report – first draft prepared

Review to date of findings:

  • Activity generally well spread across the area
  • A total of 69 projects identified
  • 5 have no engagement with FCS – spread across area
  • NFE agreements well developed across whole area
  • NFLS applications strongest in Argyll and Bute
  • WIAT applications strongest in East
  • A number of settlements have no community woodland project – predominantly in the East

Syd House felt that the presentation and report was very comprehension, well prepared and presented.

A copy of Penny’s presentation can be obtained from Perth and Argyll Conservancy.

Action point 6: Penny to create working group to finalise report and disseminate information to RFF.

6. Archaeology in the National Forest Estate

Matthew Ritchie FCS Archaeologist provided the forum with a detailed presentation on Archaeology on the national forest estate. A copy of this presentation can be obtained from Perth and Argyll Conservancy.

7. Next Forestry Park Plan and role of forestry

Presentation details to follow.

Action point 7: GMack to update draft minutes with details.

8. Soapbox Session – Raymond Henderson

Raymond Henderson from Bidwells attended the RFF forum meeting and his topic was the complexity of SRDP, he summarised his thoughts by quoting the KISS principal – “Keep It Simple Stupid”!

Raymond then went on to explain some examples of complexity:

  • SRDP contract contains 17 pages
  • SRDP contract contains no mention of property name
  • Between Oct 2008 and Feb 2011 there had been 481 updates to the SRDP application process.
  • Certification – a whole new industry has been created to cater for certification.

Grant Moir explained to the forum that LLTNP have helped applicants with the SRDP application and like him find the process very complex and difficult.

Raymond made a few suggestions to the forum:

  • Channel more money into paths etc
  • Schedule B tax relief
  • Major change to attitude

Syd acknowledged to the forum that the Forestry Commission are also disgruntled with SRDP.

9. Conservancy report

As per conservancy report circulated during meeting – action points:

Action point 8 – SH to summarise Woodland Creation breakdown
Action point 9 – SH to distribute to RFF member the completed Argyll Forest Tourism Project report.

10. The economic case for forestry (contra agriculture)

Syd House presented the forum with information on land use incentives and respective economic contributions of those land uses in Scotland. Throughout the presentation Syd supplied the forum with statistical information. A copy of this presentation can be obtained from Perth and Argyll Conservancy.

Conclusions from the presentation:

  • “Sustainable ecomomic growth” is the main rationale for the LU strategy.
  • The economic case for forestry increasing appears very good (irrespective of other MPF benefits)
  • Logical location is the land contributing least to agricultural output (subject to environmental constraints) ie upland sheep pasture
  • Forestry sector not as capable of lobbying as the farming lobby
  • Forestry should better articulate sustainable economic benefits of derived from its activity

11. AOB and DONM

  • Charlotte would like more details on the Forest Festivals, Syd suggested that Mike Strachan would be the best person to provide details.
    Action point 10 – Mike Strachan to action
  • Review of 4 meetings a year – a vote took place with the majority voting that 4 meetings a year should remain. However this should be reviewed annually.
  • Rick Worrell is going to the USA for 9 months with his wife, therefore a new Chair is required for the next RFF meeting in June. Ian Thomas will assume that role for the June meeting.
  • A letter of thanks should be sent to Moira Macpherson for her work with the Perth and Argyll RFF since its creation.
    Action point 11 – RW to action

Date of next meeting – 15th/16th June, Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans

Action Points Owner
1 Update RFF Forum on new camping by-laws in LLNP (December RFF Meeting) GM
2 Provide Penny and Sheila with Timber Transport contacts SH
3 Update on Timber Transport to be a rolling agenda item SH
4 As per action point 1 (December 2010 Draft Notes) – disseminate information supplied from Ian Stewart to RFF RW
5 As per agenda item 3 – on sub group meeting outcome feed back NM
6 Create working group re: RFF Social Forestry Project PC
7 Update draft notes with agenda item 7 details GMack
8 Summarise Woodland Creaton Breakdown  
9 Distribute to RFF members the completed Argyll Forest Tourism report SH
10 Provide CS with futher details on Forest Festivals Mike Strachan
11 Letter of thanks to Moira Macpherson RW