New role aims to get 750,000 new trees planted in Central Scotland

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Julie Paton, recently appointed as Woodland Creation Programme Manager for the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN), has taken up the challenge of getting around 750,000 additional trees planted in the network’s area by 2014. 

The newly created post is funded for two years by Forestry Commission Scotland . The Commission is a lead partner in delivering the CSGN, a 40 year initiative which aims to transform Central Scotland into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality. 

Paton’s role is designed to fulfil CSGN’s woodland creation priorities by restoring and improving the rural and urban landscape.

The post will cover a geographical area which encompasses the central belt plus South Ayrshire, East Lothian, Stirlingshire and part of Fife. This includes approximately 70 per cent of the Scottish population (3.5 million people) and an existing woodland resource of roughly 140,000 hectares composed of a diverse range of landscapes.

As CSGN’s Woodland Creation Manager, Paton will adopt a strategic role, scoping out opportunities for new woodland creation and working in partnership with stakeholders on the ground to deliver woodland creation initiatives.

Julie Paton commented: “Although the CSGN area has a shared industrial heritage, the physical environment differs widely in its condition from east to west and north to south. This provides a huge number of opportunities for woodland creation and growth.

“Working across such a diverse landscape offers a variety of possibilities in both urban and rural areas. We will be looking across the area to consider where new planting can offer the most benefit to land managers and communities and enhance the existing green networks.

“What we will ultimately create will differ widely from area to area. A key target will be look at converting vacant and derelict land into green space. Where there is economic potential, we will also consider woodland creation for timber production. The overarching aim is to use woodlands to help enrich people’s lives as well as to support businesses and the economy in line with the strategic objectives of the CSGN.”

Paton will work with regional Green Network partnerships and trusts as well as local authorities, land agents and land management groups to ensure that a careful balance is maintained between woodland creation and the needs of local populations and wider land use.

Paton’s first responsibility will be the establishment of a steering group for technical input which will be composed of public and private sector organisations. This will ensure input from a broad spectrum of organisations and encourage partnership working.

Paton previously worked with Highland Birchwoods, supporting landowners in the Highlands to tackle the spread of invasive non-native plants.

Notes to Editors

1.  Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage are joint lead partners for the development of the Central Scotland Green Network.
The Scottish Government’s second National Planning Framework, June 2009 identifies the CSGN as a national priority, which will deliver:
“...a step change in environmental quality, woodland cover and recreational opportunities...[and] make Central Scotland a more attractive place to live in, do business and visit; help to absorb CO²; enhance biodiversity; and promote active travel and healthier life styles.”

2.   Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate
For news, events and recreation information log on to or

3.    Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.

4.   Scottish Natural Heritage is the Government’s adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Its role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland’s nature now and in the future. 

5.   For further information on SNH, please visit
Media enquiries to Julie Gracie / Alix Laidlaw at Golley Slater: 0131 220 8780 /  0131 220 8785.