Forest Research visit affirms importance of research and cross-border collaboration

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Fergus Ewing checks some tree health test results with forest pathology technician, April Armstrong


Rural Affairs Secretary, Fergus Ewing today (14th December) visited Forest Research’s (FR) Northern Research Station to underline the Scottish Government’s commitment to cross-border collaboration on vital forestry research.

Forest Research (FR) – the Forestry Commission’s research agency - is the principal UK organisation for forestry and tree related research.

An internationally renowned, cross-border research organisation, it will continue to operate as a single, stand-alone agency after forestry becomes completely devolved to the Scottish, Welsh and UK administrations.

Greeted by FR Chief Executive, Professor James Pendlebury, Mr Ewing toured the facility and met some of the staff.

Mr Ewing said;

“Our £1bn forestry sector is key to our local communities, our rural economy and our climate change ambitions – strengths that the Programme for Government has ambitious plans to build on.

“Robust research and evidence is required to inform policy and practice to achieve those plans.

“As I made clear to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee yesterday, I am committed to ensuring that cross-border collaboration on research – particularly into tree health – continues at the levels that we need through Forest Research.

“This work underpins the long-term vitality of our forests, increasing the sector’s performance and the development and delivery of forest policies in Scotland and in the UK."

In 2016/17 the Scottish Government, through FCS, commissioned nearly £1M of Scottish specific research and development, including over £730K of research to supporting the forest sector and £230K to enhance the timber sector.

This included some £500,000 of funding given to support research into tackling tree health threats.

James Pendlebury said:

“We were delighted to host Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing and introduce him to FR staff working on world leading research into tree health, timber properties, forest inventories and remote sensing.

“FR is internationally renowned for the provision of research, evidence and forestry data services in support of sustainable forestry.

“We discussed many aspects of the work carried out by FR at our Northern Research Station and how we can continue to support the development and expansion of the Scottish forestry sector.”

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.