Publication - Consultation responses

Regulation of felling and restocking: consultation response analysis

Published: 18 Dec 2018
Directorate:
Environment and Forestry Directorate
Part of:
Economy
ISBN:
9781787814707

Analysis of responses to the public consultation on proposals for the regulation of felling and restocking.

41 page PDF

821.2 kB

41 page PDF

821.2 kB

Contents
Regulation of felling and restocking: consultation response analysis
5. Felling directions

41 page PDF

821.2 kB

5. Felling directions

5.1 This chapter presents analysis of responses to the proposals for felling directions put forward by the Scottish Government. It describes the consultation questions, number of responses, overall level of support for the proposals and any suggested removals, amendments or additions. A selection of quotes that typify the views expressed by respondents in relation to the draft exemptions are incorporated within the chapter.

Overview

5.2 There are provisions within the 1967 Act for Forestry Commissioners to give tree owners directions to fell trees in specific circumstances. The 2018 Act maintains most elements of the previous legislation on directions. The new proposals include:

  • Conditions on felling directions which will be grounded in sustainable forest management and impacts on communities and individuals; the environment, biodiversity or species; or retaining or increasing woodland cover.

5.3 Questions 9-11 asked participants for their views on the proposed felling directions:

9. Do you agree with the proposals?

If no:

10. Would you like to see anything removed from the proposals?

If yes: What and Why?

11. Would you like to see adjustments made to the proposals?

If yes: What and Why?

12. Would you like to see anything added to the proposals?

If yes: What and Why?

Responses to the proposed felling directions

5.4 Two thirds of consultation participants responded to the questions on the felling directions. These responses were largely positive. The table below provides a quantitative summary of their responses:

Question

Yes

No

Not answered

Non-specific response

9: Do you agree with the proposals?

14

9

14

0

10: Would you like to see anything removed from the proposals?

1

16

20

0

11: Would you like to see adjustments made to the proposals?

9

8

20

0

12: Would you like to see anything added to the proposals?

5

11

21

0

5.5 A group of 9 individuals and 5 organisations made comments calling for changes to aspects of the felling directions, typically asking for adjustments or more guidance. Material for analysis was drawn from the following:

  • Explanatory comments from each of the 9 respondents who answered ‘no’, to indicate they did not agree with the proposals.
  • Responses from 4 participants who answered ‘yes’, to indicate they agreed with the proposals, and made comments calling for specific changes to aspects of the proposed process.

5.6 The group who did not advocate for changes comprised:

  • The 10 respondents who answered ‘yes’, to indicate they agreed with the proposals, and made no calls for change of any kind in their comment.
  • The 10 respondents who did not respond to question 9, given they did not communicate a preference for the Scottish Government to do anything other than is suggested in the draft proposals.

Items to remove

5.7 In their response to the question on items to remove, one individual reiterated their request that the Scottish Government make no changes to the proposals at all but did not provide a rationale for this in relation to felling directions.

5.8 Scottish Land and Estates questioned the principles underpinning the new proposals, as follows:The 1967 Act issued statutory felling directions based on silvicultural considerations. We are disappointed that statutory felling directions could be issued with both consideration to, and conditions attached, in relation to perceived impacts of the felling and subsequent management on communities, individuals, environment, biodiversity, species, retaining or increasing woodland. Regardless of whether the ministers have the power under the new act, these additional considerations and conditions should be removed as the proposal appears to suggest that statutory felling notices could be issued for any reason, regardless of landowner or management context, without adequate justification, and that any conditions attached to these statutory felling notices can be issued in an equally arbitrarily subjective manner. We believe the proposal cannot be justified on silvicultural grounds, nor does the proposal improve transparency, simplicity or prevent inappropriate deforestation’.

5.9 There was a general observation from South Scotland Regional Forestry Forum that they ’cannot envisage the circumstances where Ministers will issue a direction on the grounds of preventing timber deterioration’.

Items to adjust

5.10 Seven respondents described adjustments for the Scottish Government to consider.

  • A small number of respondents highlighted the impact of re-stocking on deep peats, noting this can be particularly damaging to aquatic habitats and fish populations. Respondents also raised concerns about the management and protection of Riparian Buffer Zones.
  • Two suggested more clarity is required regarding what is meant by ‘prevent or reduce harm caused by the presence of trees’.
  • One respondent called for more clarity on the process for assessing the ‘impacts of felling’ – particularly who is responsible for deciding what those impacts are and whether they are deemed acceptable, welcoming a process of independent scrutiny to ensure timber production is not favoured over biodiversity or community impacts. They also called for more detail on what is considered ‘Sustainable Forest Management’ within the proposals.
  • Another said felling directions should have the flexibility to enhance as well as protect biodiversity.
  • One noted ‘any conditions imposed should be measured against compliance with the UK Forestry Standard and interpreted as such by Scottish Forestry staff’.

Items to add

5.11 In comments on additions, a few respondents repeated calls for the Scottish Government to make environmental matters more of an explicit consideration in directions.

5.12 Scottish Woodlands Ltd. suggested the application of a Felling Direction needs to include the facility for some form of compensation for the woodland owner.

5.13 An individual suggested ‘Direction should include Public Open Spaces’; this individual did not explain the basis of this view.


Contact

Email: Katherine Pauling