Thu 26 Sep, 2019

At this rate it will take Scotland 155 years to catch up. That is not an emergency response, and it is certainly not leading the way Andy Wightman

The Scottish Government is hailing a tree planting strategy that will will take 150 years to reach EU average.

Latest forestry stats show that only 18.7% of Scotland is forested, while the European average of tree cover is 40%.

Despite reforestation being essential in capturing carbon and tackling the Climate Emergency, the Scottish Government’s target is for 21% cover by 2032.

The Scottish Green New Deal would see Scotland brought up to the EU average of 40% as soon as possible, with a focus on natural reforestation to maximise the benefits of forests to wildlife, our climate and people.

Commenting on the new figures, Scottish Green land reform spokesperson Andy Wightman said:

“Trees suck carbon out of the air and are vital in our attempts to tackle the climate emergency. We need to restore Scotland’s forests urgently, which is why the Scottish Government suggesting it is ‘leading the way’ on this is ridiculous.

“The European average for forest cover is 40%. At this rate it will take Scotland 155 years to catch up. That is not an emergency response, and it is certainly not leading the way.

“It is also vital that we understand what is needed. 60% of new planting is conifers rather than native forest. Our Scottish Green New Deal proposes that 60% of new forests are native forests. We are calling for a focus on natural regeneration particularly where public subsidies are being paid today for agricultural activities that are leading to deforestation, erosion and degradation of habitat.”

At the current rate of new planting (11,210ha in 2018/19) the government would meet its target in 2038, and our target of the EU average would be met in 2174 (155 years)

Get involved

More like this

National investment bank must drive net zero efforts and empower local government

Fri 27 Sep, 2019

The new Scottish National Investment Bank must drive efforts to tackle the climate emergency and local government must have a stake, the Scottish Greens have said.

In the first debate on new laws to establish the institution, Scottish Green local government and communities spokesperson Andy Wightman called for the proposed law to have more vision, by placing its mission to fund a transition to net zero on the face of the bill.

He also called for councils to have a stake in the bank.

Call for local tax reform welcomed by Greens

Thu 19 Sep, 2019

The Scottish Greens have welcomed a report by IPPR Scotland for the STUC calling for bolder use of Scotland’s powers over local taxation.

The Thinking bigger on tax in Scotland report investigates different options for new powers for councils to raise revenue, concluding that further work would be required to cost the proposals.

Responding, Scottish Greens local government spokesperson Andy Wightman said: “Powers to give councils new forms of taxation have been devolved to Scotland since 1999, but successive governments have been too timid to take them on.

Scottish Greens stand up for school strikes

Thu 12 Sep, 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been challenged to stand up for young people’s right to take part in the global school climate strikes on September 20.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Green Lothians MSP Andy Wightman raised reports that young people in Edinburgh had been told they may face arrest if they attempt to march along Princes Street.

“Such reports are nonsense. No young person will face such action for exercising their rights to peaceful protest.”