Eight million trees damaged by Storm Arwen across Scotland

Officials say the storm affected at least 4000 hectares of woodland across the country on November 26.

Eight million trees damaged by Storm Arwen across Scotland Glen Cairns

Around eight million trees in Scotland were damaged by Storm Arwen, forestry chiefs have said.

Scottish Forestry is working with Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) and the Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) to clear the debris and recover the damage from the extreme weather last month.

Officials say the storm affected at least 4000 hectares of woodland across the country on November 26.

The most affected areas run along the east coast, across the Borders and East Lothian, stretching into Galloway.

Similar issues run through Banffshire, Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire, Angus and into Perthshire.

Scottish Forestry, Confor and FLS said they will continue to work closely to recover the damage.

Scottish Forestry has already deployed staff to the areas most affected to offer woodland owners advice.

Most of the trees that have been flattened will be removed over the next year and sent to wood processors and the forests will eventually be replanted.

Environment minister Màiri McAllan said: “Storm Arwen provided a salutary lesson of the power of nature and the challenge of climate change. Our people suffered and so, too, did our natural environment.

“The impact is evident in the distressing images of flattened forests and woodlands which will take decades, if not centuries to recover from. Their loss reminds us of the significant role trees play in our lives, communities, economy and wellbeing.

“Behind this is a monumental clear up operation which is being undertaken by large and small woodland owners. Whilst this is being carried out, the message to the public is not to enter into affected forests until they are made safe.

“Forestry might be a long term business, but getting to grips with managing the windblown timber has already begun. As more accurate information becomes available, Scotland’s forest industry will be taking decisions on handling the extra volumes of timber that needs to be harvested.

”Through Scottish Forestry, advice, information and assistance is being made available to woodland owners and the forestry sector to help manage the aftermath of Storm Arwen.”

Andy Leitch, deputy chief executive of Confor, the trade body for forestry and wood-using companies, said: “With new information emerging every day about the impact of Storm Arwen – from satellite data, localised aerial surveys and on-ground observation – it is vital that the industry and the public forestry bodies work together as closely as possible.

“The most effective way to ensure windblown trees are removed safely and quickly is to share information, identify opportunities for joint approaches – and deploy resources where they are most needed.

“The clean-up after the storm – and the work needed to remove the windblown timber, make safe the remaining trees and get the timber to wood processors – will take time and effort. However, Confor is fully committed to working in partnership with the public forestry bodies to make that happen in a speedy and efficient manner.”