A new forestry and woodland strategy for Glasgow City Region is set to boost the number of trees in the area by a further 18 million over the next 10 years.

Currently the region’s forests and woodlands cover around 60,000 hectares, but the strategy highlights that a further 9000 hectares could be planted. This could result in 21% of Glasgow City Region’s land area covered with a variety of trees by 2030.

The strategy has been developed by all eight local authorities within Glasgow City Region, Scottish Forestry, NatureScot and Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership. Any woodland manager wishing to plant trees, or apply for forestry grants in the future, will now be able to use the new woodland strategy to identify potential locations where forestry expansion could take place in the region.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The strategy is very welcome as it highlights the huge potential that trees can have in breathing new life into this vibrant region.

"New woodlands have multiple benefits – they can support the environment, boost the economy and make a very tangible difference to the quality of life for the people living and working in the region. I look forward to our forestry agencies playing their part in helping this strategy come to life.”

Keith Wishart at Scottish Forestry added: “This is an important strategy which sets out a long-term forestry and woodland vision, and one that we fully support. There is huge potential in growing the woodland resource here and Scottish Forestry is always ready to help advise on the forestry grants available to help landowners get more trees in the ground.”

Clydeplan convenor, Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, stated: “The strategy provides both the policy context to support forestry and woodland planting and management across Glasgow City Region as well as broad strategic locational guidance and environmental advice to those seeking to expand or manage forestry and woodlands.”

Woodlands and greenspace are also key in turning around the quality of life for communities, as attractive and accessible woodlands encourage people to get outdoors and exercise or simply enjoy nature.

The current Covid pandemic has seen an upsurge in people enjoying woodlands and connecting with nature and improving their mental health too. The strategy pinpoints the need to build on existing links with communities and cites Castlemilk Woodlands as a good example where local people have been heavily involved in transforming their greenspace for the better.