Date lodged: 9 February 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to prevent the spread of sitka spruce seedlings and other plantation forest regeneration on or adjacent to (a) sites of special scientific interest and (b) EU natura sites for open ground habitats or features, and what information it has regarding how many designated sites are affected by this spread.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 2 March 2017
The Scottish Government through the use of Management Agreements supports actions to manage protected areas, including the removal of plantation forest regeneration. In addition, grant funding, under the Scottish Rural Development Programme, is available for the removal of tree species from open ground habitats on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or EU Natura sites.
Scottish Natural Heritage’s latest site condition monitoring data indicates that 85 SSSI and 21 EU Designated sites are affected by the spread of coniferous tree species, out of a total of 1870 sites.