Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy

Our Woodland and Forestry Strategy provides an picture of our forestry and woodland resources and related issues

Forests and woodland cover over 30% of the land area of Argyll and Bute, and as such, impact on many aspects of our lives. The strategy provides and overall picture of the resource and its related issues.  It sets out what we would like our woodlands to look like over the next 50 years in our area, and how we can make the most of them so that they contribute to our local economy, to the environment, our rich heritage, and to the quality of life for our communities and residents.  

The Argyll and Bute Woodlands and Forestry Strategy was commissioned by Argyll and Bute Council and Forestry Commission Scotland. Funding support was also given by Argyll and the Islands LEADER, and Scottish Enterprise.  You can also download the GIS data (shapefile) here on our GIS Open Data page (on Open Government Licence (OGL) (v3) terms). The Strategy GIS data can also be viewed on an interactive map

This project was part funded by the Scottish Government and the European Community Argyll and the Islands LEADER 2007-2013 Programme.

What does our Woodland and Forestry Strategy do?

One of the main reasons for producing a Woodland and Forestry Strategy will be to influence the future expansion and restructuring of woodlands in our area. The strategy  also identifies the local circumstances and factors that should be considered when planting and felling proposals are being assessed. This will help ensure that the benefits from the future development of woodlands in the area are maximised.

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. The strategy examines the issues facing our areas and identifies preferred areas which offer the greatest scope to accommodate future expansion of a range of woodland types, and are therefore able to deliver on a very wide range of objectives. The strategy also highlights where there is potential to accommodate future expansion of a range of woodland types, but where at least one significant ‘sensitivity’ exists. Sensitive areas, where a combination of sensitivities means there is limited scope to accommodate further woodland expansion will also be identified. This will help those with a woodland or forestry interest plan for the future finding a balance between economic, social and environmental matters.

The Woodlands and Forestry Strategy can also help inform the assessment of Scottish Rural Development Programme applications. This is the main source of grant funding related to forest and woodland activities.  See the Action Plan (Chapter 11).

The strategy highlights shared priorities within Argyll and Bute and in its Action Plan identifies linkages with the Scottish Rural Development Programme.  An additional 10% will be added to grant support for woodland creation in the Argyll Islands Native Woodland Partnership area, available through the Rural Priorities element of the SRDP. Also to encourage woodland expansion, an additional 10% premium is available for the creation of woodlands for timber production in the ‘Preferred’ areas indicated in this strategy.

What is an Indicative Forestry Strategy?

Indicative Forestry Strategies (IFS) were first introduced in the early 1990’s as a tool for reducing conflict by steering new planting to less sensitive areas. By the end of the decade the situation had changed and so the guidance changed to emphasise the positive role that IFSs could play in guiding and facilitating future planting and felling. More up to date examples of IFS produced by other Councils have taken a much more positive approach to woodland development and management.  The latest guidance is contained in "The Right Tree in the Right Place"

A key component of an IFS is the strategy diagram. This sets out those areas that are considered “preferred”, “potential” or “sensitive” for future planting. However, an IFS can be more proactive and can take a strategic approach to shaping the future of forestry in the area by reflecting the Council and key stakeholder’s objectives for woodlands locally. It can also set out the criteria and policies against which proposals for planting, felling or restructuring will be considered.

An IFS is a statutory document which used to be part of the Structure Plan for an area. The latest Scottish Government advice is that it should be made a statutory part of a Local Development Plan and brought forward as Supplementary Guidance.  This strategy has now been approved by the Council and is proposed to be adopted as Supplementary Guidance to the Local Development Plan currently being prepared.

How we prepared the Woodlands and Forestry Strategy

The future development of forestry and woodlands could affect many people living, working and enjoying the environment within Argyll and Bute.  Therefore 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.  The following sets our the different stages in preparation of the Strategy:

  • An initial "views on the issues" survey was prepared and opened up to comments (this consultation has now closed).
  • An issues paper was produced and was consulted on between 6th May and 26th June 2009 (this consultation has now closed).
  • Access to woodlands and forests was examined as part of this Strategy.  This links to the Core Path Plan
  • "The Future for our Woodlands and Forestry" Open Days were held around Argyll in May 2009.
  • A draft Strategy was produced and was sent out for Consultation in 2010 (this consultation is now closed).
  • The Strategy has been finalised and approved by Argyll and Bute Council as Non-Statutory Supplementary Guidance in 2011, with a view to adoption as Statutory Supplementary Guidance as part of the new Local Development Plan
  • An Advisory Group has been set up to provide advice and guidance throughout the preparation of the strategy. The Group comprises a range of key stakeholders with interests and expertise in woodland and forestry matters.
  • A Strategic Environmental Assessment has been prepared to accompany the Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy. 

Request a copy

Download a copy of the Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy here.

Paper and CD copies of the Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy can be purchased at the following rates, by contacting us on 01546 604158 or e-mail 

Woodland and Forestry Strategy Prices
Documents Price (including postage)
Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy : Paper copy £12.00
Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy : CD £5.00
Argyll and Bute Woodland and Forestry Strategy Technical Report : Paper copy £12.00

Contacts and useful links

Argyll and Bute Council

Forestry Commission Scotland (Perth and Argyll Conservancy)

Links to other useful websites

Scottish Forestry - Support and Regulations

This guidance provides Scottish Government advice to planning authorities on planning for forestry and woodlands. It supports Scottish Ministers’ desire to see a significant expansion in woodland cover, delivering multiple benefits to society. This guidance is issued by Forestry Commission Scotland, which serves as the Forestry Directorate of the Scottish Government, and was prepared in close co-operation with the Directorate for the Built Environment, Scottish Natural Heritage and others. It should inform the preparation of development plans and may be a material consideration in planning decisions. Part 3 of this guidance replaces Circular 9/1999 on Indicative Forestry Strategies (IFSs), and encourages planning authorities to consider preparing new forestry and woodland strategies as supplementary guidance to development plans, to guide the future development of forestry and woodlands in their areas.

Forestry Commission Scotland : The Scottish Forestry Strategy.

This is the Scottish Executive’s framework for taking forestry forward through the first half of this century and beyond. It sets out a vision of a forestry sector that is:

  • diverse and strong;
  • in tune with the environment;
  • employing many people in a wide range of enterprises; and
  • providing the many other services and benefits that people need, now and for the future.

Argyll and The Islands LEADER

The Argyll and the Islands LEADER Programme is a rural development initiative which is being delivered under the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).  The development of this strategy is assisted through funding from LEADER.

Scotland Rural Development Programme

The SRDP is a £1.6 billion programme of economic, environmental and social measures designed to develop rural Scotland over the next six years. Individuals and groups may seek support to help deliver the Government's strategic objectives in rural Scotland.  The key mechanism for delivering the outcomes of the SRDP will be rural development contracts – an integrated funding mechanism that aims to deliver targeted environmental, social and economic benefits. Land managers and owners apply for grant support by choosing from a menu of options, including a number of forestry-specific options(e.g. woodland creation or woodland improvement) and a number of other non-specific options (e.g. processing and marketing or enhancing rural landscapes).  In addition, two challenge funds are available within the SRDP, comprising:

  • Woods In and Around Towns (WIAT) 2 – which aims to bring urban woodland into sustainable management and improve recreation facilities; and
  • Forestry for People (F4P) – which supports local involvement in woodland projects to improve health, to enhance learning opportunities and to strengthen communities.

Core Path Plan

Core paths plans will detail the basic network of paths in an area that are important to local people and visitors for recreation and everyday journeys.  There are links between the work on the Core Path Plan and the Argyll and Bute Woodlands and Forestry Strategy.  Consultation events for the Core Paths are being held from March to May.

Core Paths

Adopted Argyll and Bute Local Plan 2009

The Argyll and Bute Local Plan provides the local planning framework for the Council area, excluding the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park area. The Plan is divided into the written statement and proposals maps.  The written statement provides the general policy context against which planning applications for new development proposals should be assessed. This is supported by the proposals maps which show the range of development opportunities and constraints within the area

Local Development Plan  (LDP)

The LDP is an updated and combined version of the Structure Plan and Local Plan that will eventually replace these two documents.

Advisory Group

  • Argyll & Bute Agricultural Forum
  • Argyll and Bute Council
  • Argyll FWAG/Perth and Argyll Forestry Forum
  • Argyll Timber Transport
  • Community Woodlands Association
  • Forestry Commission Scotland
  • UPM - Tilhill Forestry Ltd
  • Mull and Iona Community Trust/Argyll Islands Native Woodland Partnership
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Scottish Native Woods /Argyll Green Woodworkers Association
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Scottish Woodlands Ltd
  • Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate
  • West of Scotland Archaeology Service
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