Aberdeenshire Forestry and Woodland Strategy now in use

Following significant consultation and input from the public, the forestry industry and public agencies, Aberdeenshire has a new Forestry and Woodland Strategy.

Designed to inform the location, design and management of these highly valued features of our lives and landscapes, it is part of the area’s new Local Development Plan (LDP), a planning blueprint for the area.

The strategy was recently approved by the Scottish Government as part of the Supplementary Guidance to the LDP, following years of work to produce it.

It provides further information on the relevant policies set out in the LDP in relation to forestry and woodland and how to apply them.

The strategy reflects national policy, is closely aligned to the Scottish Forestry Strategy and replaces the Forest and Woodland Strategy for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, produced in 2005.

Based on extensive input from a wide range of interested parties, the strategy presents the key issues and opportunities in relation to forestry and woodlands in the region.

It covers both rural and urban issues and focusses strongly on integration between different land uses.

Its vision is that: “The forestry and woodlands of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan area are resilient to the effects of climate change, protect and enhance the environment, habitats, species and local culture, benefit and support the local and national economy and are valued and enjoyed by people, both residents and visitors.”

The strategy is split into themed sections within which the key issues and opportunities are outlined.

The themes are: Climate Change and Tree Health; Timber and Business Development; Communities, Development, Access and Health; and Environment, Landscape and Historic Assets.

Though the document is about built development and Aberdeenshire Council’s decision making process, it should also influence land use decision making and the forestry industry more widely, identifying various opportunities to benefit the economy, as well as communities and the environment, in well managed woodlands.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Planning and Building Standards, Robert Gray, said: “Our area is home to a rich diversity of forests and woodlands which provide significant economic, environmental and social benefits. It is important that this resource is sustainably protected, managed and enhanced.

“As with the parent document, the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2017, this is a consultation-led strategy, which has given the community the chance to take ownership of its contents.

“This is really important in terms of developing planning policy which fits the needs and aspirations of our communities, while providing a robust framework within which to make development decisions.”

The Strategy presents a map of Preferred Areas for New Woodland Creation, identifying where new woodlands could go, to maximise the benefits and promote integrated land use.

You can see the new Forestry and Woodland Strategy online at (links to PDF - 3.7MB): http://bit.ly/FWStrategy