The future of the Forestry Commission
Last year’s consultation was dominated by the question “what type of management structures would be best placed to deliver on forest policy and regulation”.
Despite overwhelming opposition from us and two-thirds of respondents on the proposal to move Forestry Commission Scotland’s functions in-house to the Scottish Government, this is still the Scottish Government’s intention. This Bill, however, will not directly set up any new organisational structure.
The loss of a dedicated public body devoted to forestry, the loss of an iconic and respected brand, and the reputation and trust that is associated with that is difficult to quantify.
We will be watching closely to ensure that the new division of the Scottish Government is able to keep the expertise of its staff.
The old Forestry Commission’s culture of outward facing engagement and diversification from solely timber production to education, health, tourism and even farming should be cherished. We all need to make sure forestry continues as a key priority of each Scottish Government, no matter what its political make-up.