Guidance to boost community use of Scotland’s National Forest Estate

Environment Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod today welcomed published guidance for community groups looking to develop projects on Scotland’s National Forest Estate.

The guide is for communities who want to get involved in managing land or buildings looked after by Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES), the government agency responsible for managing Scotland’s National Forest Estate (NFE).

The guidance has been produced following a recent review of community engagement processes. As well as highlighting much good practice and a positive staff attitude to engagement the review also recommended the publication of revised guidance to help community groups looking to discuss possible projects on the National Forest Estate.

Dr McLeod, said;

“In order to help people derive greater benefit from Scotland’s national forest estate, Forest Enterprise Scotland has built up a sound understanding of working with communities – either communities of people in the same local area, or communities of people with a common interest. 

“This new publication captures this understanding - and a wealth of experience - and makes it easy for people to engage with Forest Enterprise Scotland and to develop ideas and plans for activities and events.

“It is very welcome and I am confident that it will be of valuable assistance to all communities, anywhere in Scotland.”

The new guidance, which for the first time draws together relevant information into one document, is expressly for people looking to arrange activities that directly involve communities using or managing their local NFE woods.

It offers advice on making initial approaches and invites communities to consider funding and costs, health and safety, management competence and potential impact on other forest users’ interests.

The guidance will be modified and improved in response to practical experience from real projects and will evolve further when the Community Empowerment Act comes into being in the summer 2016.

Craig Millar, for Forest Enterprise Scotland’s communities and recreation team, said;

“It’s always a good idea to talk to us whatever the scale of the activity or event you are planning - we are always happy to offer advice and guidance.

"However, this is also a learning process for us, and as community groups come forward with new projects, the feedback they give us on the guide will help us to continue to learn and improve our work with communities." 

To provide feedback on the guide please drop an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and get in touch with your local Forest District office to discuss your idea.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.