Policy actions  1 of 4

Forestry legislation

To complete the devolution of forestry to Scotland, we need to pass new legislation.

Under the Legislation Project – one of the six projects making up the wider Forestry Devolution Programme – we are committed to bringing into law:

The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act

The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill received Royal Assent on 1 May 2018, making it an Act. The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 comes into force on 1 April 2019 – until then, the Forestry Act 1967 remains in force.

The 2018 Act:

  • transfers the powers and duties of the Forestry Commissioners to Scottish Ministers, making them fully accountable for forestry in Scotland
  • introduces a new legislative framework to support and regulate forestry in a way that reflects modern forestry practices and policies
  • introduces greater flexibility to the use of the National Forest Estate, to help ensure Scotland's public land is used more effectively

We have produced devolution of forestry factsheets to help clarify the legislative process.

Impact assessments

We undertook the following impact assessments for the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill:

Pre-screening was carried out for:

Background information about the passage of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill can be found in our website archive. 

Future of forestry consultation

We initially consulted on the future of forestry in Scotland between 31 August and 9 November 2016.

Our aim was to gather views on proposals for new organisational arrangements, cross-border arrangements, and a modern legislative framework. View the consultation responses and analysis and the consultation hub.

Secondary legislation: regulation of felling and restocking

A public consultation on the regulation of felling and restocking ran from 20 August to 14 October 2018. View the analysis of consultation responses.

The regulations which will form the new regulatory regime, and commence the 2018 Act, were laid before the Scottish Parliament on 15 February 2019. Information sheets setting out the impacts of the regulations have been added to the devolution of forestry factsheets and more detailed questions can be addressed to futureforestry@gov.scot.  

 Scotland Act Orders

We are working with the UK Government to complete the process of fully devolving forestry functions to the Scottish Parliament by introducing Orders under the Scotland Act 1998 to:

  • transfer the property and liabilities of the Forestry Commissioners, in so far as they relate to the exercise of their functions in or as regards Scotland, to the Scottish Ministers
  • make consequential amendments to UK legislation as a consequence of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act coming into force