The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 10 May 2017. It provides the legislative framework to enable delivery of a package of other policy initiatives that the Scottish Government is introducing to increase forestry’s contribution to the Scottish Ministers’ economic, environmental and social ambitions.
The policy objectives of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill are to:
- Improve accountability, transparency and policy alignment by transferring powers and duties of the Forestry Commissioners to make Scottish Ministers fully accountable for Forestry in Scotland.
- Bring a modern approach to practices and policies: new legislative framework to support and regulate forestry replacing the outdated Forestry Act 1967 in Scotland, reflecting modern practices and policies
- Make more effective use of Scotland’s public land including greater flexibility in the use of the National Forest Estate
The Bill and accompanying documents have been published by the Scottish Parliament and all appropriate impact assessments have been carried out. The Bill has passed through Stage 1 and Stage 2 of its consideration by the Scottish Parliament. In Stage 1 the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee scrutinised the Bill, taking a wide range of views though written evidence and four evidence sessions: 7 June 2017, 21 June 2017, 6 September 2017 and 13 September 2017 (detailed in their Official reports), culminating in a Stage 1 Report published on 6 October 2017 and Stage 1 Debate in the chamber on 7 November 2017. At Stage 2, amendments to the Bill were debated by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on 6 December 2017 and 13 December 2017 (detailed in their Official reports) and an "as amended at Stage 2" Bill published. At Stage 3, on 20 March 2018, the Bill was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament and a "Bill as passed" published. On 1 May 2018 the Bill received Royal Assent which is the formal process by which a Bill becomes an Act. The Forestry Act 1967 will remain in force until the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 is commenced which is currently planned for 1 April 2019.
Information sheets on the contents and process of the Bill have been produced to clarify the process of forestry devolution.
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