Forestry and Land Scotland has announced its new 'Acquisition Strategy' to buy land to boost its climate change mitigation efforts – specifically tree-planting and peatland restoration

The strategy is underpinned by a Scottish Government investment of £30 million into a Low Carbon Investment Fund, and the transfer of £9 million residual funds from the old woodland creation programme into a new Strategic Acquisition Fund. This cashpot will allow FLS to purchase land for commercial conifer or extensive native woodland creation, land suitable for peatland restoration and land that will 'enhance Natural Capital and other environmental benefits'.

FLS chief executive Simon Hodgson said; “Planting trees and restoring peatland are key elements in boosting Scotland’s Climate Emergency mitigation effort.

“With the Scottish Government planting targets increasing to 18,000ha per year over the next three years, we intend to play our part and up our game in helping to meet them. To do this we need to acquire more land.

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“In our previous woodland creation programme we had to sell land in order to fund the acquisition of new land – but this is no longer a requirement," said Mr Hodgson. “This greater flexibility in expanding Scotland’s national forests and land to add woodland and forest cover will allow us to make even greater contributions to biodiversity conservation, to providing community engagement opportunities and to capturing and storing carbon emissions.”

FLS said that it would be taking an 'invest to save' approach, focussing on purchases that would be strategically beneficial to the National Forests and Land, including acquisitions that improve access, that improve and reduce the long term costs of timber haulage, that rationalise boundaries or improve management opportunities.