Exploring opportunities for new woodlands in the Borders

View over valley with trees

Published: Monday, 8th July 2019

We are one of four local authority areas in the south of Scotland taking part in a Scottish Forestry pilot project.

Scottish Forestry pilot project

The aim of the pilot project is to develop a new approach to forestry that seeks better integration of new woodland with farming, communities and other land uses to maximise the benefits.

The pilot will consider areas where there may be the capacity for more large scale woodland but ensure that there is the right land use and landscape fit.

Pilot areas

As part of the project in the Scottish Borders two pilot areas have been chosen, including areas in the Upper Ale Water to the Ettrick Water and Upper Teviot to the Hermitage Water.

We are working with the Southern Uplands Partnership and Borders Forest Trust to engage with a broad range of stakeholders on the project, with events being planned from late August onwards, with more details to follow.

These will focus on the opportunities new woodland may bring through:

  • jobs
  • training
  • access
  • recreation
  • local processing
  • timber transport improvements
  • community involvement in new woodlands through to a range of multiple benefits, such as natural flood management

There are some constraints that will also be considered which impact on:

  • other land uses
  • landscapes
  • cultural heritage
  • biodiversity 

Scottish Government targets

The project is one part of the response to Scottish Government targets around climate change and forestry, including the desire to ensure a sustainable supply of wood products to support forestry industries. The national aim is for the creation of 10,000 hectares of new woodland per year, increasing to 15,000ha in 2024.

More information on the pilot project can be found on the Scottish Forestry website.

Councillor Tom Miers, Executive Member for Planning and Environment

“There is already some interest in creating new plantation woodland within the region, and this national pilot scheme may help to establish a new approach to creating new woodland that meets demand, supplies our timber businesses and that is balanced to ensure that hill farming and other land uses are sustained.

“This needs to be done in a way that provides opportunities for local jobs, local communities and local businesses to benefit in a variety of ways.

“By taking part in the pilot we can ensure that our own local interests are represented, which obviously includes the need integrate farming with forestry to protect livestock farming from the negative impact of poorly designed large scale planting and also make sure that we have the right tree species mix while matching any greater demand for forestry.”