LANDOWNERS are being urged to seek independent valuation advice as interest and investment in forestry and woodland creation continues to rise.

The advice has been issued by experts from the property division of ANM Group, due to a significant increase in land purchases for forestry and tree planting in recent years.

Associate director of Aberdeen & Northern Estates, James Craig, said: “Land suitable for woodland creation is becoming increasingly valuable as investment in this sector increases, driven by strong projected returns from timber and the continued establishment of the market for carbon units under the government-backed UK Woodland Carbon Code.

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“Our advice to landowners is to be savvy about the sale of their land and not just take offers at face value. There are a number of factors that come into play and should be considered whilst negotiating with this type of purchaser.”

Mr Craig continued: “In recent months, we have seen an increase in landowners being cold-called or visited by purchasers or their agents out of the blue. This is largely because the market has become very competitive during the course of this year and while an initial offer may seem competitive, due diligence and valuation advice for any such sale should still be undertaken.”

Demand for forestry has surged in recent years, in part due to a strong commitment from the Scottish Government to expand the nation's woodland cover with attractive grants available for investors who buy previously unplanted land and wish to create new woodland. This commitment is expected to continue with a manifesto pledge from the SNP giving its backing to planting 40 million trees every year by 2030.

This influence on the market is heightened further by the rising tide of social and political pressure on government and industry to address their environmental impact – the climate change conference COP26, which concluded last week in Glasgow, is a timely reminder which has brought these issues to the fore.

With the value of land suitable for forestry continuing to increase director of Aberdeen & Northern Estates, James Presly, added: “Having held several very successful and competitive closing dates this year for farms and farmland, as well as being involved in other private transactions, A&NE have their finger on the pulse with up-to-date sales evidence. We are also in regular contact with many of the buyers and agents who might be interested in purchasing land suitable for woodland creation.

"Limited supply and strong demand put sellers in a good position, and we would welcome any enquiries that landowners might have. We understand that each vendor’s situation will be unique, and that a private sale or public offering might be more suitable. We are well versed in both scenarios and would be pleased to assist.”