Parliamentary questions by Peter Peacock MSP ( January 2009)
Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive how much potential income it estimates will arise from joint ventures under powers in relation to the national forest estate on which it is consulting and how such estimates, taken over the same period as potential leasing arrangements, compare with estimated income from leasing arrangements.
Michael Russell: It is estimated that annual net income potential from joint ventures for renewable energy development might be expected to reach perhaps £10 million per year by 2012 and perhaps £30 million per year by 2020. Leasing arrangements may produce a lower return, but that will depend on the prevailing economic conditions, lease conditions and success of individual schemes.
Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether potential leasing arrangements for the national forest estate will be subject to competitive tendering.
Michael Russell: If a decision is taken to lease parts of the national forest estate, then the leasing process will follow best practice in order to secure value for money while safeguarding public benefits.
Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive how much time it estimates will be needed to prepare all necessary documentation and parcelling of land for leasing parts of the national forest estate.
Michael Russell: The extent, nature and number of potential land leases have not been determined, so it is not possible at this stage to estimate the time that would be required to prepare the necessary documentation.
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive what consultation it envisages before decisions are made about which parcels of the national forest estate will be offered for leasing and whether such consultation will involve local communities with a potential interest.
Michael Russell: If a decision is taken to lease parts of the national forest estate, there will be a further opportunity for stakeholder groups to be involved in discussing and influencing the way in which this would be implemented.
Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive how many hectares of new planting took place on the national forest estate in each of the last 10 years.
Michael Russell: The total amount of hectares of new planting that took place on the national forest estate in each of the last 10 years are listed in the following tables. Figures for restocking are also shown.
Planting on the National Forest Estate
|Year||New Planting||Restocking||Total (Thousand Hectares)|
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive whether new planting rates meet national targets for new forest planting.
Michael Russell: Earlier this year, Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) indicated in its Scottish Forestry Strategy Implementation Plan that a sustained programme of around 10,000 hectares of new planting would be required each year to achieve the Strategy aspiration of 25% woodland cover by the second half of the century. FCS estimated that the private sector would plant 80% of the annual programme, while the remainder would be planted on the national forest estate. It is therefore too early to assess progress against this programme, particularly as the incentives to help delivery, the forestry measures within the SRDP, have just been put in place after the closure of the Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme. Progress will, however, be monitored closely over the coming years, and the figures will be published.
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive how much it costs on average to plant a hectare of new national forest estate.
Michael Russell: The average cost of establishment for a mixed commercial and amenity woodland on the national forest estate is £3,185 per hectare.
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive which public bodies or enterprises, including Forestry Commission Scotland, are eligible to apply for grants to the Scotland Rural Development Programme for new forest planting.
Michael Russell: Forestry Commission Scotlandís new forest planting on the national forest estate is funded through its own budget. Any other public body or enterprise which owns or leases land is eligible to apply for grants under the Scotland Rural Development Programme for new planting.
Peter Peacock : To ask the Scottish Executive whether private enterprises leasing parts of the national forest estate would be eligible to receive Scotland Rural Development Programme funds.
Michael Russell: If a decision is taken to lease parts of the national forest estate, the lessees would be eligible to receive funds from the Scotland Rural Development Programme, subject to approval of appropriate work proposals.
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