Publication - Consultation paper

Forestry and Land Scotland draft corporate plan 2022 - 2025: consultation

Published: 11 Oct 2021

Forestry and Land Scotland has developed a draft corporate plan which sets out the proposed direction of travel and priorities for the organisation for the next three years. The consultation seeks the views of all who have an interest in the national forests and land.

Forestry and Land Scotland draft corporate plan 2022 - 2025: consultation
2. About Forestry and Land Scotland

2. About Forestry and Land Scotland

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) was established as an executive agency of the Scottish Government on 1 April 2019, following completion of the devolution of forestry to the Scottish Parliament as a result of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018.

FLS has responsibility for managing the national forests and land for multiple outcomes, a function previously undertaken by Forest Enterprise Scotland, an agency of the Forestry Commission. The land management provisions of the 2018 Act provide the potential for the expertise within FLS to be used, by agreement, to manage forested and non-forested land owned by other people. As a land manager, FLS is regulated by a number of regulatory bodies, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and in particular by Scottish Forestry for forestry activities. FLS also has particular responsibilities to help ensure Scottish Ministers meet their duties to manage forested land in a way that promotes sustainable forest management. As an operationally-focused organisation, commercial trading activities (e.g. the sale of timber, renewable energy schemes, recreation, and estate management) fund most of FLS’s operations. FLS is therefore more at arms-length from the core Scottish Government than some other public bodies, retaining more independence in the delivery of its day-to-day operational objectives. FLS is classed as a Public Corporation under the definition set by the Office of National Statistics.

FLS will continue to contribute to the achievement of the Scottish Government’s primary purpose of creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth. We will do so in a way that embodies the Scottish Government values of ‘a society which treats all our people with kindness, dignity and compassion, respects the rule of law and acts in an open and transparent way’.

The purpose of FLS, in its unique position as both an executive agency and largest land manager in Scotland, is to manage forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; and delivers benefits for people and nature. The primary focus of FLS, in delivering its purpose, is to support Scottish Ministers in their role as leaders of Sustainable Forest Management and Sustainable Development through their stewardship of the national forests and land.

The Story Of Scotland’s National Forests and Land

The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018, led to the creation of a new forestry agency, Forestry and Land Scotland, in 2019 to manage the national forests and land. This marked a tremendous change for the organisation with significant achievements since 2019, including the transfer of staff, moving to different ways of working and governance whilst continuing to manage the national forests and land in a way that delivers for the people of Scotland.

The work of FLS builds upon 100 years of work undertaken by the Forestry Commission, the origins of which are in the First World War and the difficulties Britain had in meeting wartime demands on timber.

The Forestry Act of 1919 and the need to develop a strategic timber reserve coincided with post-war opportunities to acquire large areas of land, but even before this the government was recognising the need to develop Britain’s forest resources. After the end of World War II in 1945, work began on restoring the national forests. Many newly acquired felled or neglected woodlands were planted, but the availability of land for new forests was mainly in areas unsuitable for food production, although some of these were not ideal for forestry either.

In the early years of the national forests and land, foresters turned to North America for productive trees that would suit our soils and climate. One in particular, Sitka spruce, became the cornerstone of the Scottish timber-processing industry, supporting thousands of jobs.

In 1935 the first National Forest Park opened in Argyll. This was the start of a long history of encouraging outdoor recreation and public access. In the post-war era, the public were given a ‘right to roam’ in state-owned forests and more Forest Parks were established.

From the 1970s, conservation and amenity issues grew in importance, with a new emphasis on woodland diversity, broadleaves, and creating a sympathetic landscape. For the first time, forests were seen as important wildlife reserves. Also at this time, the value of Scotland’s extensive bog habitats started to be recognised, bringing a halt to extensive woodland creation on peatlands.

The new century brought with it increased recognition of the role that the national forests and land can play in efforts to mitigate Climate Change and recent years have seen increasing planting targets and work in areas such as Peatland Restoration to lock in carbon and enhance biodiversity.

Further information on the history of forestry in Scotland can be found at https://www.forestcentenary.scot/

Responding to the Climate Emergency

Climate science is telling us to expect warmer and wetter winters, hotter and drier summers, and more unpredictable and extreme weather events. We are already seeing these changes happen now and as they intensify they will have an increasing impact on the national forests and land and the biodiversity associated with it.

Scotland’s world-leading climate change legislation sets a target date for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. Our environment and economy are intrinsically linked, and Scotland’s transition to a more prosperous, net-zero emissions economy is already well underway. By managing the national forests and land, FLS has a key role to play in helping to meet this target and mitigate and adapt to the impacts of the Climate Emergency. We have a unique opportunity to act on a large scale to make a real difference. We are putting protecting biodiversity and development nature-based solutions at the heart of our forward thinking approach to building a sustainable business. Our aim is to adapt how we manage our land, reduce our emissions and capture more carbon, leading the way for the land-based sector.

The need to future-proof isn't new to FLS. We recognise that the national forests and land will need to cope with wildfire, more frequent storms and flooding, and a greater threat from pests and diseases. As such we are developing resilient forests and open land habitats that are adapted to cope with these threats.

We are already major contributors to efforts to capture carbon and reduce emissions: leading the way in creating new woodlands; balancing timber production and replanting programmes; improving the condition of peatlands and other degraded soils; and working with the wind and hydro sectors to realise the renewable energy potential of the national forests and land. However, there are more opportunities to tackle climate change right across the national forests and land, but only by putting nature at the heart of our response can we truly make a difference. To do this, we are using nature-based solutions to many issues and ensuring that protecting biodiversity in our forests and land is foremost in all our work.

The urgency to do more is increasing and we are seeing compelling evidence that this is the case. We are working with Adaptation Scotland to help us assess that actions needed to continue to adapt our work and the national forests and land to be resilient to the impacts of the Climate Emergency. As major land managers, we are well placed to undertake further transformational adaptation measures to help Scotland deal with the changing climate – and using nature-based solutions, we can also help to tackle the biodiversity crisis at the same time.

We have developed our Route Map to Net Zero. This sets out the actions we will take to achieve zero ‘direct’ business emissions by 2045 and the targeting of reductions of those ‘indirect’ emissions generated by our suppliers/contractors associated with our activities.

We have also adapted one of our Corporate Outcomes to place an increased focus on our work around the climate emergency.

“Scotland’s national forests and land are looked after, resilient to climate change and their biodiversity is protected and enhanced.”

However, this work cuts across everything that we do and is relevant to all of our Corporate Outcomes. We will continue to look for opportunities to capture more carbon, reduce our emissions and adapt to climate change.

Actions relevant to our work on the Climate Emergency have been included throughout this Corporate Plan. More information on our work to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of the Climate Emergency can be found on our website.

2.1 Organisational Structure

Scottish Ministers are responsible for determining the overall policy and resources framework within which FLS operates. Ultimately they are accountable to the Scottish Parliament for its functions and performance. FLS is responsible for the day-to-day management of the agency. FLS operates a regional business model for the delivery of our work across the national forests and land. There are five regions, each of which has a high degree of autonomy for delivery through a network of local offices.

The image shows a map of Scotland, divided into the five FLS Regions.  The five regions are demarcated with different colours of green, with identifying text on each section ie North Region, West Region, East Region, Central Region and South Region.

The image shows a map of Scotland, divided into the five FLS Regions. The five regions are demarcated with different colours of green, with identifying text on each section ie North Region, West Region, East Region, Central Region and South Region.

At a national level, FLS is organised under four functional areas: Land Management, Estate Development, Business Services and Corporate Services.

Land Management supports five regional teams by providing national leadership and services relating to Planning; Environment; Technical Services; Marketing and Sales; and Visitor Services and Communities.

Estate Development is responsible for managing income and added value opportunities in Scotland’s forests and land through Land Agency and Agriculture; Acquisitions and Disposals; Renewables Projects; and Commercial Development.

Business Services supports the organisation with a number of core business areas including Finance and Procurement; Digital Services; Human Resources (including Health, Safety and Wellbeing; Learning and Development); Fleet and Buildings; and Records and Data Protection.

Corporate Services is responsible for Corporate and Business Planning; Programme and Project Management; Change Management; Communications and Marketing; Corporate Governance and Assurance; managing correspondence with ministers; responding to Freedom of Information requests; Customer Satisfaction; and Complaints.

Please note that we are currently reviewing our organisational structure at a national level and details of the revised structure will be included in the final version of the Corporate Plan.

2.2 Organisational Governance

The FLS Framework Document sets out the relationship with the Scottish Government, and the accountability structures, administrative and financial arrangements within which we operate.

The Chief Executive is supported by the FLS Strategic Board and the Executive Team. The Strategic Board is comprised of the Executive Directors and Non-Executive Advisors.

FLS Strategic Board

  • Simon Hodgson - Chief Executive
  • Graeme Hutton - Director of Business Services
  • Michael Hymers - Director of Corporate Services
  • John Mair - Director of Estate Development
  • Trefor Owen - Director of Land Management
  • Mark Pountain - Non Executive Advisor
  • Lisa Tennant - Non Executive Advisor
  • Pamela Zielinski - Non Executive Advisor

The Executive Team is comprised of the Executive Directors, Regional Managers, Head of People & Organisational Development and Head of Finance and Procurement.

FLS Executive Team

  • John Dougan - Regional Manager, South
  • Rosetta Forbes – Head of People & Organisational Development
  • Simon Hodgson – Chief Executive
  • Andy Hunt - Regional Manager, West
  • Graeme Hutton - Director of Business Services
  • Michael Hymers - Director of Corporate Services
  • David Leven – Regional Manager, East
  • John Mair – Director of Estate Development
  • Carol McGinnes – Regional Manager, Central
  • Donna Mortimer – Head of Finance & Procurement
  • Trefor Owen - Director of Land Management
  • Graeme Prest – Regional Manager, North

Photographs of the members of the Strategic Board and Executive Team will be included in the final draft of the Corporate Plan.


Contact

Email: corporate@forestryandland.gov.scot