Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy shortlisted for top UK award

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Published Date: 

2 Dec 2011 - 15:42

The Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy has been named as one of 34 finalists across 9 categories in the UK Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Planning Awards.

The strategy is produced to influence the future expansion and restructuring of woodlands in our area. It also looks at local circumstances and factors for consideration when planting and felling proposals are being assessed. The strategy should ensure the benefits from future development of woodland in the area are maximised.

The plan has been entered in the Rural Areas and Natural Environment category of the awards. The awards were established in 1978, and developed into the UK’s premier awards for planning, recognising the very best practice and rewarding outstanding achievement in the profession.

Spokesperson for the environment, Councillor Bruce Marshall said “I’m delighted the Woodland and Forestry strategy is one of the finalists in these prestigious awards. The plan sets a framework for the future development of our forests and woodlands so that we can maximise their contribution to our local economy, to the environment, our rich heritage, and to the quality of life for our communities and residents.”

The strategy identifies the existing resource within Argyll and Bute (excluding the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park). It gives a broad level view of what we have and where it is across a wide range of forest and woodland related activities, for example, ancient and semi natural woodlands, timber transport routes, sawmills, land capability for forestry, recreation facilities and main access.

It was commissioned by Argyll and Bute Council and Forestry Commission Scotland. Funding support was also given by the Scottish Government and the European Community Argyll and the Islands LEADER 2007 – 2013 programme and Scottish Enterprise. There is an extra ten percent of funding available in Argyll and Bute because we have the strategy. The money would be used for the creation of woodlands for timber production in the “Preferred‟ and “Potential‟ areas indicated within it.

The future development of forestry and woodlands could affect many people living, working and enjoying the environment within Argyll and Bute. Argyll and Bute Council has made sure it included the views of people and groups of a varied cross-section of interests including economic, social and environmental were sought throughout the preparation of this strategy.  Open days were held in the area, a questionnaire was created for people to give their views, an issues paper and a strategy were consulted on and an advisory group was set up.

The winner of the award will be announced in February next year.