Confor has welcomed Scottish Conservative support for driving up tree planting targets ahead of the party’s annual conference in Glasgow.
The party’s Environment and Climate Change position paper calls for “the creation of 15,000 hectares of new quality woodland per year, up from 7,600 hectares in 2015, with a focus on biodiversity and flood prevention”.
The Scottish Government wants to increase its current target of 10,000 hectares per year of new planting to 15,000 hectares per year by 2024/25.
Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said: “It is excellent to see that the Scottish Government and the Scottish Conservatives, the main opposition party, both support a significant increase in tree planting.
“There is a very positive political consensus emerging about the need to drive up tree planting to benefit Scotland’s economy, environment and communities.”
That message was echoed when Scottish Conservative shadow environment secretary Maurice Golden launched the environment position paper and said: “The bottom line is that a circular economy will be a win for businesses, a win for consumers and a win for the environment.”
Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives said she wanted to “provide Scots with a greener and more pleasant land to call home” and to allow the next generation to “live in a better, more productive and more sustainable world”.
Mr Goodall said: “Forestry and timber is the ultimate sustainable industry – we plant trees, they grow and mature, we harvest them to provide the everyday wood products we all need, then we plant more trees. We do that within woodlands that contain areas for wildlife and which are designed to look attractive in the landscape – and which deliver an enormous range of positive benefits as a result.”
Confor has engaged closely with Peter Chapman, Scottish Conservatives shadow rural economy and connectivity secretary, and arranged a visit to a forest and sawmill for him in Aberdeenshire in late 2016. It has also provided detailed evidence to the forestry inquiries carried out by the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Connectivity committee, chaired by Conservative MSP Edward Mountain.