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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-18705: Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 September 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it takes to ensure that new afforestation proposals do not adversely affect curlews.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 26 September 2018

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is the Scottish Government’s forestry advisor and regulator and as such provides advice and guidance to land managers seeking to establish new forestry.

FCS recognises the importance of protecting the nesting habitat of curlew and the potential impact that new forestry may have, and has raised the profile of this species with all the FCS regional offices.

There is no curlew-specific advice or guidance currently provided by FCS. However FCS provides more generic guidance on safeguarding protected bird species, and applies this guidance to nesting curlew. FCS then works with the applicant on the assessment, interpretation and how the planting design could be developed so that the impact on birds and other aspects of the environment are acceptable.

The majority of woodland creation projects apply for financial support under the Forestry Grant Scheme. The scheme’s application process requires surveys and environmental information to be submitted where vulnerable species such as curlew are present or may be affected. In these cases FCS advise the land owner to seek advice from SNH and RSPB and to modify the planting scheme as appropriate, for example by reducing the scope for planting.