FCS reveals planting plan recommendations

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The Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) has published a proposal for efficient forest planting, taking into account recommendations from former Scottish Government head of planning Jim Mackinnon and regional forestry forums.
The planting targets are to be raised on a stepped basis from the current 10,000ha a year to 15,000ha by 2025.
The Scottish Government had asked Mr Mackinnon to investigate the current arrangements for planting approvals across the country and he gave them recommendations, including putting more focus on approving sustainable planting schemes.
He also recommended earlier engagement between tree-planting businesses and communities and having a dedicated team to deal with complex proposals, including where environmental impact assessments are required.
FCS Highlands and Islands Forestry Forum commented on the recommendations made by Mr Mackinnon.
It said it believed a regional advisory committee should be established to help independent FCS conservancy staff assess how well those applying to plant forestry comply with the UK Forestry Standard and should hold regular training events to make known the requirements to meet this and improve the standards of application.
The forum also recommended more should be done by FCS to process approval of small schemes (less than 40ha).