Can a new ‘yellow’ Scotland protect ancient woodland – old by definition – for the future?
The last seven days in Scottish politics have been fascinating. The Scottish Parliament elections have just produced the first majority government in the history of the Parliament and there are 48 new members in a chamber of 129. The Scottish National Party (SNP), whose party colour is yellow, have had a landslide success and now dominate the constituency seats in the chamber.
So what does this mean for the Woodland Trust in Scotland? Well, the SNP manifesto made a number of strong commitments to forestry and woodland, including:
- “We will take action to protect and restore peatlands and will significantly expand our forest estate with the planting of 100 million trees by 2015.”
- “We want to see the continued growth of woods in and around our towns and cities given the undoubted recreational and health benefits these provide, and look to see an increased proportion of planting of native species.”
- “Given the importance of our ancient woodland we will also begin a consultation on actions we can take to protect these highly biodiverse woodlands.”
- “We will keep the Forestry Commission as a publicly-owned body and our forestry estate as an asset for the nation. Given the recent proposals from the Conservative government in London we believe the Scottish Parliament should now have full responsibility for all forestry issues in Scotland.”
The commitment to carry out a consultation on actions that can be taken to protect ancient woodland is something we warmly welcome. We have been calling for greater protection for ancient woodland for many years and this is a positive step in the right direction. This commitment is one that we will be paying close attention too and we look forward to hearing more about it in due course.
Angus Yarwood, Policy & Campaigns Officer, Woodland Trust Scotland