Forestry must consider rural areas

Galloway and south Ayrshire biosphere has responded to the consultation on forestry.
Galloway and south Ayrshire biosphere has responded to the consultation on forestry.

South Ayrshire’s biosphere is calling for communities and other rural businesses to be considered when it comes to forestry planning.

The Scottish Government recently consulted on the future of forestry in Scotland, inviting responses to their plans for the devolution of forestry and their proposals for a dedicated Forestry Division within the Government and the creation of a new land management agency called ‘Forestry and Land Scotland’‟.

Last week the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere submitted their response that appeals for a more balanced approach to land management which considers the wider impact of forestry on the environment, communities and other rural businesses.

Joan Mitchell, chairwoman of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Partnership Board, said: “An appropriate balance in land use is important at local as well as national level and we are anxious to preserve the local discretion which allows the Biosphere to work as an effective partnership of different interests.” The full response can be found at www.gsabiosphere.org.uk

The response states: “The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, while recognising the important economic contribution of forestry to this area, have concerns that creating a new Forestry Division within Government could lead to the centralization of decision making with the consequent loss of a more regional approach to management and regulation.

“The Biosphere feel that the Government must consider the wider impacts of forestry on local communities, biodiversity, water and carbon sequestration and storage and recognise the importance of the National Forest Estate for recreation and tourism.

“With the growing emphasis on planting targets and commercial forestry within the Scottish Government, the Biosphere fear that the wider implications of new commercial planting schemes and the management of the National Forest Estate will lead to inappropriate planting with limited wider benefits to visitors and those who live and work in the area.”

The Scottish Government held a consultation on the future of forestry in Scotland between the 1st of August 2016 and the 9th of November 2016.

The consultation was primarily focused on completing the devolution of forestry to make the management of forestry directly accountable to Scottish Minister.

It set out to gather views on the Governments planned approach to new arrangements for the governance, development, support and regulation of forestry in Scotland. Responses will help inform future policy.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere submitted their response last week, Wednesday the 9th of November.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is the first in Scotland and will provide a unique opportunity for local communities, businesses and organisations to benefit from a status that has global recognition.

A Biosphere is an area that demonstrates a way of living and working that benefits people and nature.

It covers 5268 sq km of SW Scotland and includes large parts of Galloway, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire and can be used to inspire a positive future.

The Biosphere Partnership is a charity with representation from communities, businesses, organisations and agencies that have an interest in the region.

For More Information http://www.gsabiosphere.org.uk/