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Views Sought or Council's Forestry & Woodland Strategy

>> Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Aberdeenshire Council’s Planning Service is branching out to develop a new Forestry and Woodland Strategy and wants local residents to share their views to help it grow.

Just over 18% of the land area in Aberdeenshire is woodland that provides habitats for both nationally and internationally important species, improves air quality and regulates temperatures.

A public consultation is now open for residents to give their views on a range of issues covering these significant resources.

Topics open for discussion include how existing forests and woodlands should be managed in the future, where grant support for forestry projects should be targeted and the identification of preferred areas for new woodland creation.

As well as an online consultation, three public meetings will be held at the end of September for anyone with an interest in forestry and woodlands to come along to and share their views. The dates are:

  • Banchory Town Hall – 6.45pm, Monday September 21
  • Huntly Stewarts Hall – 6.45pm, Wednesday September 23
  • Mintlaw Public Hall – 6.45pm, Wednesday September 30

A consultation document is available on the council’s website until Wednesday, October 14.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor David Aitchison, said:

“Aberdeenshire is home to a rich diversity of forests and woodlands and it is very important that they are protected and enhanced through sustainable management.

“As part of Aberdeenshire’s Local Development Plan, the strategy will be given an important status within the statutory planning process as our forests cannot exist in isolation.

“It is therefore also important for us to consider policies and decision-making for other land types as well, particularly agricultural land and river basins.”

Vice-chair of the committee, Councillor Stephen Smith, added:

“As part of the development of the strategy, we want to hear about the local and regional issues that affect forestry and woodlands in Aberdeenshire.

“The council’s forestry and woodland strategy will provide a guide for future forest and woodland creation and management across the area and we want to hear the views of residents on how best to achieve this.

“The public’s responses will help shape the strategy produced and there will be further consultation in early 2016 once a draft has been written.”

The development of the strategy is being guided by Forestry Commission Scotland’s The Right Tree in the Right Place, a document that provides advice from the Scottish Government to local authorities on planning for forestry and woodlands.

The new strategy will replace the existing Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Forest and Woodland Strategy produced in 2005 and be used as supplementary guidance in the 2016 Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan.

For more information on the events and strategy please email forestry&woodland@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

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