South of Scotland Forestry Forum meeting minutes, 3 February 2012

Location: South Scotland Conservancy, Moffat Road, Dumfries


John Dougan
Ian Johnston
Neil Cowan
Iain Laidlaw
Martin Craig
Joan Mitchell
Jamie Ribbens
Bill Meadows
Pat Hunter Blair (Chair)
Jamie Smith

1. Welcome and Apologies

Apologies received from the following: Christine Leslie, Donald McPhillimy, Anne Fraser, Bobby McGhee, Roddy Fairley

2. Minutes and Action Points from Last Meeting

Minutes of last meeting at Lochside House Hotel were agreed.

AP1 – Outstanding action is for JS to confirm with RF a suitable area to apply an ‘Ecosystems Approach’ as detailed within Land Use Strategy

All other action points from the last meeting will be covered during this meeting.

3. Conservator's Update

• Grants – Over the last 9 months a review has taken place of the SRDP programme to understand the areas of the process that have and haven’t worked in order to inform how the next programme may look. ‘Customer Reps’ and ‘CONFOR’ have also fed into this review process

• Within forestry some of the options being considered for the next programme includes;

i/ Woodland Creation – Continue with tariff based system but move away from Annual Recurrent payments and back to phased capital payments. Review planting models to ensure costs are broadly in line with actual costs.

ii/ Social – WIAT/F4P – more options considered as standard costs rather than the current actual costs for WIAT.

iii/ Other options such as squirrels and thinning may be brought into forestry options.

• UK Forestry Standard 2011 – available

• CAP 24 – Consultation on 2014 out now

One of the proposals is to move away from Single Farm Payment and replace it with an area-based system.

4. Woodland Strategies

• Ayrshire – under review

• Borders – under review. A scoping document has been produced which indicates what has been done, what else still needs to be done and what the Council would like to include in the next strategy document.

• D&G – draft copy circulated but spatial data still unavailable.

It was noted that with all 3 strategy documents currently under review/implementation there was an opportunity to provide guidance on the work be carried out by the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group.

The Forum discussed opportunities for setting spatial priorities a summary of which is as follows;

i/ Strategic approach using datasets as in ‘Ayrshire and Arran Strategy’
ii/ Subdivision of areas within region
iii/ Still needs to remain at a strategic level i.e. approx 6 areas
iv/ Subdivision started by catchment but then need to subdivide
v/ Differentiate woodland types

Other comment – aspiration should be articulated in ‘Priority Issues’

AP2: Forum to consider fleshing out a draft and try out approach for the section ‘Potential for woodland expansion’ – ‘Ayrshire Basin’ and ‘Carrick Hills’

i/ Ayrshire Strategy Feedback
ii/ Test out approach. Scan word doc 8 spatial priorities (JD/IJ)

Looking for feedback on both Ayrshire & Arran and Borders Strategy, brigade thematically.

AP3: Forum to provide JD with feedback on how D&G is geographically broken down.

5. Land Use Strategy and Woodland Expansion Advisory Group

General discussion and followed on from previous agenda item about how the strategies within the SS Conservancy may be used to inform and advise the WEAG.

6. AOB

Bill Meadows provided an update on areas of work Dumfries and Borders District were currently engaged in i.e. Acquisitions, ‘Starter Farm’, Glentress and Harestanes.

7. Date of Next meeting

Friday 11 May 2012.

Thanks were given to all for attending.