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Farmers, foresters, conservation, community and land experts are making up the new group to help identify which types of land are best suited for tree planting.
The Woodland Expansion Advisory Group consists of 16 prominent representatives and will be chaired by Andrew Barbour, who farms in Perthshire and is also a woodland adviser to Atholl Estates.
Announcing the group, Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Environment and Climate Change said:
“There are competing demands for land in Scotland for both planting trees and for food production.
“To ensure both these vital sectors can flourish we need to look for practical long-term solutions. The work of this group will be instrumental in informing the future direction on planting and land use.”
The first meeting of the group is planned on 25 August.
Minutes of all meetings will be made public via Forestry Commission Scotland’s website.
On taking up his post as Chair of the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group, Mr Barbour added:
“I am very pleased to have been asked to be involved in this task. Farming and forestry - in their various forms - are both close to my heart and it will be good to try and bring these two interests together within the context of the landuse strategy.
"Each of the individual members of the group has a wealth of experience of landuse issues, which collectively gives us a substantial body of knowledge that we can tap into and deliver findings that will be of practical benefit to all interests.”
The full list of representatives are:
Chair: Dr Andrew Barbour
Nigel Miller: NFUS.
Jonnie Hall: NFUS.
Angus McColl: Scottish Tenant Farmers’ Association.
Dr Andrew Midgley: Scottish Land and Estates.
George McRobbie: UPM Tilhill.
Hamish Macleod: Director BSW and Chair of FC Scotland’s National Committee.
Simon Pepper: SNH Board member and former director WWF.
Vicki Swales: RSPB Scotland.
Professor Jeff Maxwell: Former Director of Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and recent Chair of Tenant Farming Forum.
Ian Ross: Highland Council and Chair of Planning, Environment and Development Committee. Mr Ross also chaired the Forests for People Advisory Panel.
David Barnes: Scottish Government Rural and Environment Directorate.
Jo O’Hara: Scottish Government Rural and Environment Directorate.
Bob McIntosh: Director, Forestry Commission Scotland.
Susan Davies: Scottish Natural Heritage.
Mark Aitken: Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
Notes to news editors
1. The task of the Group is:
“To provide advice to the Cabinet Secretary, by March 2012, on identifying more closely which types of land are best for tree planting in Scotland, in the context of other land-based objectives; and on promoting good practice and local processes in relation to tree planting so as to secure multiple benefits.”
In formulating their advice, the Advisory Group should recognise the need to implement the Scottish Government’s commitments to tree planting set out in Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting the Emissions Reduction Targets 2010-2022 (the Report on Proposals and Policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet Scotland's statutory targets), and the Objectives and Principles set out in the Scottish Government’s Land Use Strategy.
The group will also need to consider the Scottish Government’s Rationale for Woodland Expansion, and the competing pressures on land potentially available for tree planting, including food production, energy generation, biodiversity and heritage conservation, and development.
In planning its work, the Group will need to consider how best to collect evidence, based on available research and the views of interested stakeholders.
2. Forestry Commission Scotland works as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.