The SNP are supporting woodland creation and improvement through the Forestry Grant Scheme, and are committed to boosting the planting rate in the forestry sector. In particular, we will support the planting of woodland which can help prevent flooding and assist in water basin management. We will also explore how public sector pension funds can invest in Scotland’s forestry and we will increase action on restoration of ancient woodlands.
In October 2016, funding of £6.5 million was announced to plant 1200 hectares of new woodland across Scotland – the highest level of funding awarded by the new Forestry Grants Scheme. Since the Scheme came into operation in October 2015, over £34 million has been approved for a range of woodland projects, which includes 5467 hectares of woodland creation. Currently around 83 per cent of woodland planting in the UK takes place in Scotland.
We will meet our target of planting 10,000 hectares of woodland every year, and increase this by a further 50 per cent by 2025. In the coming year, the Scottish Government will deliver a National Forestry Strategy setting out our long-term vision and objectives for forestry and woodlands.