Plan to plant more native trees around Aberdeen is approved

More native trees are to planted in communities around Aberdeen as part of a Tree & Woodland Strategic Implementation Plan which has been agreed at a committee meeting.

Aberdeen City Council’s operational delivery committee approved the move which will set out the vision, priorities, and an action plan for the future stewardship and expansion of urban, street trees, rural trees, and woodlands.

The Tree & Woodland Strategic Implementation Plan also provides a long-term framework for ensuring that their qualities are measurable, recognised, properly valued, protected, and permanently enshrined in the environmental fabric of the city.

Aberdeen City Council operational delivery committee convener Councillor Philip Bell said: “We have beautiful parks and green areas around Aberdeen so it is good to see the plan to plant more native trees has been approved.”

The production of such plans by local authorities has been encouraged by the Scottish Government via Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and supported by the FCS guidance document The Right Tree in the Right Place which has been used to help prepare the plan.

Under the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018, FCS has since been replaced by Scottish Forestry as an executive agency of the Scottish Government, and Scottish Forestry will undertake the devolved regulatory responsibilities for forestry as previously carried out by FCS.

The Scottish Government aims to increase the rate of woodland creation to deliver 100,000 hectares of new woodland over the next 10 years. The National Planning Framework emphasises the importance of woodland as part of our cultural identity, as an essential contributor to well-being and as an economic opportunity alongside the role of woodlands in terms of climate change adaptation, biodiversity enhancement and natural flood management, all of which are identified in Aberdeen’s Tree & Woodland Strategic Implementation Plan.

The draft plan sets out a vision, high-level themes and policy objectives for Aberdeen’s tree and woodland resources and an overall framework for their management and future creation. It is a local expression, with a strongly urban emphasis, of the wider national objectives identified under the Scottish Government’s “Scotland’s Woodland Strategy 2019-29”, covering issues and opportunities relating to climate change, biodiversity enhancement, health and well-being, timber production and business development, community engagement and other aspects of the environment. It includes issues relating to planning and development, as well as council and privately-owned and managed woodlands.

The draft Tree & Woodland Strategic Implementation Plan Spatial Guidance Map is an important element of the plan as it identifies the general level of opportunity and preferred areas for new woodland creation within Aberdeen. Importantly the map will assist Scottish Forestry in scoring applications for new woodland creation under the Scottish Government’s Forestry Grant Scheme application process and may result in a financial uplift to grant payments within such preferred areas.

An eight-week public consultation on the Tree & Woodland Strategic Implementation Plan and associated documentation is to be carried out which will form part of a future report to committee.