Forestry Industry Eyes Bid to Boost its Economic Growth to £2bn a Year by 2030

 A new strategy for Scotland’s forestry industries is seeking to harness the opportunities of natural wood fibre to double the  sector’s economic growth to £2 billion a year by 2030.

Launched by the Scottish Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group, the Roots for Further Growth strategy sets out a vision for economic growth up to 2030. The strategy has five strategic priorities:

• Maximise the economic outputs of Scotland’s forest and fibre resource.

• Improve the safety and efficiency of the wood fibre supply chain.

• Expand markets and add value.

• Develop a workforce with skills for the future which supports inclusive growth.

• Understand and communicate the forest and wood-based industries’ contributions to Scotland’s economy.

Chair of the leadership group and chair of the BSW Timber Group, Martin Gale, presented the strategy to Fergus Ewing, Rural Economy Secretary, during a visit to Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute of Sustainable Construction, where they witnessed some structural testing of potential new wood products.

Mr Gale said: “I am delighted to launch the Roots for Further Growth strategy. The Forest and Timber Technologies sector is an important sector for Scotland’s economy. Over the last decade the sector has grown significantly and our ambition is to double our contribution to the Scottish economy by 2030. Continue reading “Forestry Industry Eyes Bid to Boost its Economic Growth to £2bn a Year by 2030”

Michael Gove to Reward Farmers for Environmentally Friendly Practices after Brexit

Image: Reuters

Michael Gove will set out proposals to replace EU farming subsidies with new incentives to reward landowners for environmentally friendly practices after Brexit.

The Environment Secretary plans to scrap the much-criticised Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in favour of subsidies for farmers who try to enhance the natural environment by planting woods, creating wildflower meadows and providing habitats for wildlife.

A leading figure in the Leave campaign, Mr Gove has vowed to deliver a “Green Brexit” by using Britain’s departure from the bloc as an opportunity to transform agriculture and revitalise the countryside.

In a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference, he is expected to say: “I want to develop a new method of providing financial support for farmers which moves away from subsidies for inefficiency to public money for public goods.”

Warning that the CAP is “fundamentally flawed by design”, Mr Gove will outline a major shake-up in how farmers receive funding, where they will bid for cash based on environmental benefits delivered on their land.

He will tell delegates: “Paying landowners for the amount of agricultural land they have is unjust, inefficient and drives perverse outcomes. Continue reading “Michael Gove to Reward Farmers for Environmentally Friendly Practices after Brexit”

Sci-fi forest tracks carbon impact

An industrial-scale experiment in a Staffordshire forest will help fill gaps in knowledge about climate change.

The project has created an outdoor laboratory by encircling trees with 25m masts gushing high levels of carbon dioxide.

The site is surrounded by a 3m anti-climb fence, and silvery tubes snake along the forest floor in what looks like a sci-fi alien invasion.

The scientists behind the experiment want to find how forests will respond to the levels of carbon dioxide expected in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st Century.

That means full lab conditions: no food and drink in the woods, and no relieving yourself behind a tree.
Carbon locked up

The role of plants in taking up CO2 is one of the known unknowns in climatology. CO2 is a plant fertiliser and researchers think that as levels increase the trees will fix more of it into their trunks, roots and organic matter in the earth. Continue reading “Sci-fi forest tracks carbon impact”

Campaigners call for a new national park — in London

Daniel Raven-Ellison in Norwood Park, London, this month © Tom Jamieson

Daniel Raven-Ellison bounded down Penge High Street in south London with more enthusiasm than most people bring to the stretch that passes between the Magic Nails beauty parlour and a mid-sized branch of Homebase. “There are seal pups in Teddington!” he cried, as he led a small group of hikers along the pavement on a drizzly afternoon earlier this month. “Seal pups in the Thames, just hanging out!”

The generously bearded explorer, who wore a blue shirt, hiking trousers and a pair of worn boots, was recounting highlights of an epic journey. For more than a month, Raven-Ellison, who is 37, had been walking around the capital in a tightening spiral of 348 miles. His goal: to transform the way we view one of the world’s greatest — and greenest — cities. Continue reading “Campaigners call for a new national park — in London”