McLeod to lead debate on new forest tenure

SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod will lead a Members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament this Wednesday highlighting the creation of a new form of forest land tenure in Galloway. Dr McLeod’s debate will highlight the creation of the first Scottish “Woodlot Licence” on the Corsewall Estate near Stranraer. The Woodlot Licence allows someone with an interest in the industry to lease an area of woodland, which they can then manage with a view to selling the timber produced.

Woodlots have been actively promoted in British Columbia, where there is more than 30 years’ experience supporting this method of land tenure. The Woodlot Licence created on the Corsewall Estate, owned by Angus Carrick-Buchanan, is the first of its kind anywhere in Scotland, and local man Mark Rowe has become the first Woodlot Licence-holder.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Dr McLeod said: “I am delighted that Galloway has become the home to the first Scottish Woodlot Licence. Giving people opportunities in the forest industry to actually manage and harvest timber for themselves is something new for Scotland, which I am keen to highlight in Parliament.

“This form of land tenure has developed a solid track record in British Columbia, where it has been accepted practice, and indeed promoted by the government, for over 30 years.

“In a region as heavily forested as Galloway, where the forestry industry is a significant contributor to the local economy, it really makes sense to give people with an interest in the industry a chance to manage their own woodlands, harvest and sell the timber they produce for themselves.

“This is what the Woodlot Licence allows people to do and I am keen to see this form of tenure promoted across the rest of Scotland.”

Convener of the Scottish Woodlot Association William Allen commented: “Aileen McLeod’s support has been tremendously beneficial to our work to bring Woodlot Licences to Scotland. Woodlot Licences offer the opportunity for people across Scotland to manage local woodlands themselves, creating employment, producing timber and getting woodlands back into management.”

Owner of Corsewall Estate Angus Carrick-Buchanan added: “I encourage other owners of undermanaged woodlands, including local authorities, farmers and landowners to step forward and consider letting woodland via the Scottish Woodlot Association to appropriately skilled and motivated local people who can build sustainable businesses and supply wood fuel to local communities”