Environment secretary Michael Gove has visited the UK’s largest modern forest at Ochil Hills in central Scotland, home to more than 1.3 million trees.
The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) arranged the visit to Jerah tree farm to demonstrate the benefits of modern productive forestry to Gove. Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor, and Tim Liddon, manager of Tilhill Forestry, briefed Gove about the scheme’s benefits for the environment, economy and local community.
The tree farm was designed as a modern productive woodland which, as well as growing timber, was specifically designed to help reduce flood risks in the Menstrie area. A significant part of the site was also designed and planted as a community woodland, enhancing access for walkers, fell runners, mountain bikers and paragliders.
Just 41% of the 1,000-hectare site is dedicated to timber production, with the balance comprising open ground and native woodland for landscape, environmental and public amenity benefits.
Gove said: “Forestry is vital to the UK’s economy, and at Jerah I saw first-hand the role tree planting has to play in managing flood risks, helping wildlife to thrive, and simply providing a beautiful place for people to live and work.
“Through successful schemes like Doddington Moor in Northumberland and ambitious plans for a Northern Forest along the M62 corridor, planting more trees will be at the heart of our work to deliver a green Brexit.”
Goodall said: “Michael Gove has made very positive comments about the role of forestry in delivering a cleaner, greener future for the UK and it is extremely important to show him practical examples of what modern productive forestry can deliver.
“Tilhill Forestry worked tirelessly with the local community and all interested parties to get the balance of the site right. The result is a new forest designed very much with the landscape and with people in mind – a forest which will deliver timber to support the local economy as well as very wide-ranging benefits for the environment and the communities around the site.”