Ministers must loosen their grip on forestry, and encourage more community ownership
Andy Wightman MSP, Land Reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (24 Jan) used a Holyrood debate to urge Scottish Ministers to loosen their grip on forestry, and encourage more community, charity and local council ownership.
A third of Scotland’s forestry is owned by Scottish Ministers and managed by the Forestry Commission, with over 90 per cent of the rest owned by landed estates and investors.
"Scottish communities aren't benefiting from the forests on their doorstep due to a lack of ambition from the Scottish Government. We have one of the most concentrated patterns of private ownership of forestry in Europe, with a third of private forestry owners living outside Scotland.
"Across Europe, forestry is owned by co-operatives, communities and municipalities, and we should aim to replicate that here. It is time to question the vast tracts of treeless land in Scotland and develop new mechanisms through planning and fiscal policy to make new forestry obligatory.
"A new forestry act should encourage a much wider range of bodies such as community groups, environmental charities, co-operatives and local councils to own forests and take over parts of the National Forest Estate currently managed by the Forestry Commission."