Woodland restoration: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

How many acres of woodlands have been restored or created with Scottish Government funding in the period 1 September 2021 to the present day?


As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

Response to your request

Please note that this response is being made on behalf of both Scottish Forestry and Forestry and Land Scotland.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exception under regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (Information not held) applies to some of the information you have requested.

This exception applies because your query asks for the amount of woodland created with all Scottish Government funding. While Scottish Forestry leads on the disbursal of woodland creation grants to private individuals and businesses on behalf of the Scottish Government, and Forestry & Land Scotland leads on the management of Scotland’s publicly-owned forests and land on behalf of the Scottish Government, there may be activities by other Scottish Government departments, agencies, or public bodies that result in the creation or restoration of woodland.

We therefore cannot guarantee that our activities cover all woodland created or restored with Scottish Government funding, and we do not hold information on woodland creation or restoration other than that resulting from our own activities over the period given.

Please note, for the purposes of the following figures we have interpreted ‘restoration’ of a woodland to mean the restocking / replanting of woodland after timber harvesting.

By that definition:

  • Scottish Forestry was responsible for 4,508 hectares (11,140 acres) of woodland restoration and 8,867 hectares (21,911 acres) of woodland creation via the Forestry Grant Scheme between 1 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 (this being the last complete reporting period prior to 9 August 2022).

Please note that these figures do not include restocking undertaken without funding from the Scottish Government. It is a condition of most tree-felling permissions that the area felled must be restocked with replacement trees, unless specific reasons apply; however, this restocking may be undertaken by the private landowner without recourse to public funds.

  • Forestry and Land Scotland was responsible for 6,318 hectares (15,612 acres) of woodland restoration and creation between 1 September 2021 and 9 August 2022.

Official statistics on woodland creation on both public and private land across the UK, including previous years, are published by Forest Research and available here.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

FOI 202200314989 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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