AROUND 18 million trees are to be planted across Glasgow and the west of Scotland over the next decade to expand woodland areas while tackling climate change.

Glasgow’s city region’s forest and woodlands currently cover around 60,000 ha but a new strategy highlights that a further 9,000 ha could be planted an increase of 21 per cent by 2030.

With more tree planting, the region has an opportunity to boost its efforts in tackling climate change, a factor to be highlighted on an international level with COP26 being held in Glasgow this November.

The forestry and woodland strategy has been developed by all eight local authorities within Glasgow City Region, Scottish Forestry, NatureScot and Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership.

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Councillor Vaughan Moody, land use and sustainability lead for Glasgow City Region said: “Glasgow City Region recognises the value of additional tree planting as part of its Green Recovery response to the current pandemic as well as their value as part of the City Regions’ response to addressing the challenges of climate change.

“The Forestry and Woodland Strategy will also prove a catalyst for improving the quality of the environment of local communities and the City Region looks forward to working with stakeholders to delivering the strategy.”

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing added: "This is very welcome as it highlights the huge potential that trees can have in breathing new life into this vibrant region.

"New woodlands have multiple benefits – they can support the environment, boost the economy and make a very tangible difference to the quality of life for the people living and working in the region.

"We look forward to our forestry agencies playing their part in helping this strategy come to life.”

The strategy pinpoints the need to build on existing links with communities and cites Castlemilk Woodlands as a good example where local people have been heavily involved in transforming their greenspace for the better.

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Keith Wishart at Scottish Forestry added: “This is an important strategy which sets out a long-term forestry and woodland vision, and one that we fully support. There is huge potential in growing the woodland resource here and Scottish Forestry is always ready to help advise on the forestry grants available to help landowners get more trees in the ground.”

The strategy is aimed at those involved in planning, managing and developing forestry and greenspace, in the public, rural and commercial sectors. Any woodland manager wishing to plant trees, or apply for forestry grants in the future, will now be able to use the new woodland strategy to identify potential locations where forestry expansion could take place in the region.

Clydeplan convenor, councillor Lawrence O’Neill stated: “The Clydeplan Joint Committee have been delighted to work with Scottish Forestry to prepare the first Forestry and Woodland Strategy in Scotland under the terms of the new Planning (Scotland) Act.

“The Strategy provides both the policy context to support forestry and woodland planting and management across Glasgow City Region as well as broad strategic locational guidance and environmental advice to those seeking to expand or manage forestry and woodlands.”

This story first appeared in the Glasgow Times.

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