Record high as 30 million trees planted in Scotland last year

Between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024, a total of 15,000 hectares of new woodland was created across Scotland.

Record high as 30 million trees planted in Scotland last year Supplied

Around 30 million trees have been planted in Scotland over the last year, setting a new record high.

Between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024, a total of 15,000 hectares of new woodland was created across Scotland.

Data from Forest Research showed an 80% jump in planting, and the highest level of new native woodland in more than two decades.

Figures also show that 73% of all new woodland in the UK was established in Scotland last year.

The Scottish Government has a target to plant 18,000 hectares of forest per year by 2025.

The Scottish Government achieved 90% of the interim target to create 16,500 hectares of woodland for 2023/24.

Of the 300 separate woodland creation projects in Scotland last year around half were taken forward by farmers, crofters or other small scale landowners.

The statistics show that 4,550 hectares were planted in England, while 640 hectares were created in Wales and 430 hectares in Northern Ireland.

Last June, when a dip in woodland creation levels were recorded, Scottish Forestry introduced a package of new measures to help raise woodland planting.

It resulted in the “biggest change” to the Forestry Grant Scheme since it began in 2015 including grant rate increases, new or improved grant options and the speeding up of processing applications for new woodlands.

Around 83,000 hectares (166 million trees) of new woodland have been created in Scotland since the Forestry Grant Scheme was established, with 34,600 hectares being native woodland.

Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon welcomed the “remarkable” achievement adding it was “very positive” news.

“We need to give credit to all those who helped get the trees in the ground – this includes Scottish Forestry’s staff, woodland owners large and small, farmers, crofters, Forestry and Land Scotland, nurseries, forestry companies and their agents, and all those who actually did the planting.

“The figures are a perfect example of what can be achieved by working in partnership for the benefit of Scotland. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved,” they said.

Scottish Greens MSP Ariane Burgess commented on the “important” progress adding that it needs to be ensured that investing in woodlands and nature becomes Scotland’s “new normal”.

“This is really welcome and important progress and has taken a lot of work from a lot of people and community groups,” Burgess said.

“When we invest in our woodlands and nature we are investing in our health and wellbeing.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat climate crisis spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said that the results should be viewed in the context of the “SNP’s failure to respond with the urgency necessary to tackle the climate and nature crises”.

“From chopping the budget to missing almost all their targets for woodland creation, the SNP have time and again undermined efforts to tackle climate change by restoring Scotland’s forests,” he said.

Scottish Labour and Conservatives declined to comment.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in