Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie says the Scottish Government have been well and truly defeated over their ill conceived plans to lease a quarter of Scotland’s forest estate.
“The government has dropped the deeply flawed and unpopular proposals after a sustained campaign.” said Cathy.
“This is a humiliating climb-down by the Scottish Government. We have been campaigning hard against these damaging privatisation plans. The SNP have finally backed off after continued pressure to ditch the proposals.
“We opposed from the beginning plans to lease large swathes of our forests for the next seven or eight decades. This would have been bad news for Forestry Commission staff, public access and wildlife projects.”
Sarah Boyack, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, added:
“Roseanna Cunningham must now get on with delivering a more positive agenda for our forests, which includes developing renewable energy ventures. This would be a virtuous circle with the money generated being available for the Forestry Commission to invest in new planting.
“Staff at the Forestry Commission can now continue to make progress with footpaths, mountain bike trails and bio-diversity projects without a cloud hanging over them.”
The announcement by the minister said “We do not intend to use the powers provided for in section 47 of the Bill to make an order allowing leases and cutting rights over parts of the national forest estate. Accordingly we will propose an amendment to delete sub-section 47(4)”