A MINISTER has said the forestry sector is "an exciting and rewarding career" to be in right now. 

Mairi McAllan made the declaration following a visit to James Jones & Sons' Lockerbie site this week, where she was full of praise for the timber processor's "key role in supporting Scotland’s rural economy".

The Environment Minister, whose portfolio includes forestry, was shown the award-winning facility, while discussing a range of topics surrounding how the company is contributing to Net Zero.

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Ms McAllan said: “This was a hugely interesting visit and it was very useful to hear about the company and its future plans and investment.

“The commitment of the company to staff development and the length of staff service was very impressive.

"It reaffirms that the forestry sector is an exciting and rewarding career to be in right now and for the future. The decarbonisation of their work is very welcome.

"One of James Jones’s plans is to trial a number of electric lorries as part of their haulage fleet, which will help reduce harmful CO2 emissions.

“Being one of the largest timber companies in the UK, they have a key role in supporting Scotland’s rural economy and driving forward our commitment to reaching Net Zero.”

Following discussions, which included a presentation on James Jones & Sons, the minister was shown around the Lockerbie 3 sawmill, the most advanced log processing facility in Scotland.

Speaking about the visit, David Leslie, joint managing director, said: "We were delighted to welcome the Minister to our Lockerbie site and to have the opportunity to discuss topics that are paramount to the success of the industry.

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"We have a strong commitment towards our green credentials, supporting the local community and investing in innovation and staff development, whilst focusing on producing our only naturally renewable resource, timber, that has always been a fundamental part of our group ethos and strategy."