News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Exciting times for Scottish forestry

“These are exciting times for forestry in Scotland” was the message from Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity to FCS Conservancy staff.

Mr Ewing visited each of the five Conservancies – in Dumfries, Hamilton, Perth, Huntly and Dingwall – to meet with staff to thank them for their work, listen to their hopes and concerns for the future and share his vision for a growing Scottish forestry sector.

fergus ewing portrait

The discussions were lively and wide ranging and included:

  • progress with implementing Jim Mackinnon’s recommendations to streamline the planting approval process;
  • how to retain and develop the professional skills and competence of FCS staff;
  • the importance of retaining the positive approach and facilitative spirit and ethos of FCS as it transitions into the Scottish Government;
  • increasing the woodland creation grant funding budget by £4 million in 2017-18;
  • committing £7 million to improve timber transport infrastructure; and
  • completing the devolution of forestry, recognising forestry’s place at ‘centre stage’ in Scotland’s rural economy, and improving transparency and accountability.

Mr Ewing said: “I enjoyed speaking directly with staff about the great work they currently do and the further improvements they are putting in place. Recent new woodland creation figures are very encouraging, and the whole sector has worked hard to help with this welcome increase.

“Forestry is a real success story in Scotland and I want to make sure that we build a very positive future for this growing and important rural sector.”