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Scottish Climate Change Bill - In Parliament

On 4th November 2008 Michael Russell the Scottish Minister launched a consultation that seeks views on how the Scottish Government can make better use of the assets of Scotland's national forest estate in the fight against climate change. We believe that some of the proposals outlined in the consultation paper represent the biggest challenge to our jobs, the integrity of the FC and the sustainability of the Scottish Forestry sector that we have seen for over ten years.

On This Page:

> Transript of the Scottish Parliament Debate 29/01/08
> Details of the forestry sections in the Climate Change Bill
> Details of motions and Written Questions submitted in the Scottish Parliament

The Climate Change Bill

Climate Change Bill

The Climate Change Bill was introduced to Parliament on 1st December 2008.

The Climate Change Bill (V1)
Notes
Policy Memorandum
Delegated Powers Memorandum

A first draft of the Climate Change Bill (as introduced) as issued on 1st December and as expected contains the necessary provisions to implement all of the proposals that are current subject to the consultation.

As indicated on our position page we are supportive of the need to tackle climate change and for forestry to make the maximum possible contribution towards this; and as such many of the bullet points contained in the bill and reproduced below represent sensible provisions. However we obviously remain concerned about the specific proposals to lease land and privatise the management of a proportion of the national forest estate, and to set up a not-for-profit trust to oversee the management of the land.

In advance of the start of the scrutiny of the bill by the various committees within the Scottish Parliament we shall be preparing submissions with the hope of limiting the scope of the delegated powers of Scottish Ministers as provided for in the bill and if necessary to build in safeguards about the use of those powers and the hypothecation of any funds that are raised.

 

The accompanying notes to the bill confirm that Part 5 – Chapter 2 will allow modification by secondary legislation of the functions of the Forestry Commissioners to enable the Forestry Commission in Scotland to play a greater role in tackling climate change.

  1. (1) The Scottish Ministers may, by order, modify the functions of the Forestry Commissioners in or as regards Scotland.
  2. (2) The Scottish Ministers may make an order under subsection (1) only where they consider it necessary or expedient to do so—
    1. (a) in order to comply with their duty under section 1, 2 or 3(1)(b); or
    2. (b) otherwise in relation to climate change.
  3. (3) An order under subsection (1) may in particular include provision enabling the Forestry Commissioners to—
    1. (a) form, or participate in the forming of, a body corporate;
    2. (b) invest in a body corporate;
    3. (c) provide loans;
    4. (d) establish a trust;
    5. (e) act, or appoint a person to act, as—
      1. (i) an officer of a body corporate; or
      2. (ii) a trustee of a trust.
  4. (4) The order may also make provision about the delegation by the Forestry Commissioners of their functions, including—
    1. (a) the circumstances in and purposes for which those functions may be delegated;
    2. (b) the functions which may be delegated;
    3. (c) the persons to whom such functions may be delegated.

The Accompanying notes provide further expanded comments on the various sections within the bill:

Renewable energy development and releasing capital for woodland creation
177. These provisions will allow the Scottish Ministers to confer functions on Forestry Commissioners in Scotland by secondary legislation, where they consider it necessary or expedient in relation to climate change. The immediate intent is to take forward proposals to allow the Forestry Commission to enter into joint ventures for renewable energy development and to allow them to let timber cutting rights to fund climate change activity.

The National Forest Estate – renewable energy development
178. Renewable energy development on the National Forest Estate through joint ventures will be revenue generating. Recent studies have shown that there is significant untapped potential for wind and hydro developments on the national forest estate. Annual net income potential might be expected to reach perhaps £10m/yr by 2012 and perhaps £30m/yr by 2020. Initial capital costs to the Forestry Commission will depend on specific joint venture arrangements, but the use of the renewables sites themselves as the Forestry Commission share is preferred. There are further options to fund initial capital from routine land disposal programmes.

179. Additional cash resources will be required by the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) initially to establish joint venture arrangements, estimated at £0.5m/yr in 2009/10 and 2010/11. This will be found from FCS’s operational budgets.

The National Forest Estate – releasing capital for woodland creation
180. It is intended to secure powers through the Bill to allow, by secondary legislation, the release of capital from the National Forest Estate through the letting of timber cutting rights. The intention is to evaluate options for releasing value from the £850M total estimated value of the Estate. This would be done by letting cutting rights over some of the more commercial parts of the estate. The income would depend upon a range of factors including, critically, the area covered by a lease and its terms; one option being evaluated is a 75 year lease over about 100,000 hectares (or up to 25% of the national forest estate).The receipts might be secured as an up-front payment or as an income stream. Additional cash resources would be required initially to let the cutting rights and establish contracts, estimated at £0.2m/yr in 2009/10 and 2010/11. This will be found from Forestry Commission operational budgets. Current timber supply contracts will be safeguarded through the letting process and it is expected that the forestry and timber sectors will benefit from resultant market diversification. All secondary legislation will be accompanied by a fully costed Regulatory Impact Assessment.

181. The receipts from the letting of cutting rights would provide additional funding for woodland creation. One option being consulted upon is to supplement current woodland creation measures by transferring cutting rights receipts to a membership-led body created to use this resource for woodland creation. Such a body might also be given the landlord’s interest in the leased land to hold in perpetuity for the nation. Detailed proposals have yet to be developed, and will include consideration of State Aids issues. Additional cash resources would be required initially to establish the appropriate bodies, estimated at £0.3m/yr in 2009/10 and 2010/11. This will be found from Forestry Commission operational budgets.

182. This proposal will not create additional financial burdens on local authorities or other public bodies, individuals and businesses. As well as helping to mitigate climate change, an enhanced rate of woodland creation will provide economic stimulus to Scotland’s forestry sector.

Summary of potential estimated costs for the Scottish Government for Forestry provisions:

 

Motions

S3M-02955.1 Shirley-Anne Somerville (Lothians) (Scottish National Party): Scotland's Forests - As an amendment to motion S3M-2955 in the name of Robin Harper (Scotland's Forests), leave out from "expresses its dismay" to end and insert "welcomes the ongoing consultation provisions for forestry in the Scottish Climate Change Bill and the Scottish Government's continued engagement with key forestry stakeholders; notes that the proposal to lease some woodlands would apply only to the most commercial of forests and would have no impact on the vast majority of publicly-used woodlands and none on key leisure woodlands; further notes that any proposed leases would have to include unbreakable guarantees concerning the highest standards of biodiversity, access and training and that absolutely none of Scotland's publicly-owned forest estate would be sol d as a result of these proposals, and recognises that the leasing proposal has the potential to release much-needed capital for investment in climatechange activity and could result in the creation of additional jobs in the sector as considerable new sums would be available for tree planting and other related activity."

S3M-02955 Robin Harper (Lothians) (Scottish Green Party): Scotland's Forests - That the Parliament considers that the Forestry Commission Scotland has a central role with regard to sustainable development and to combating climate change; recognises the Scottish Government's commitment to increase forest cover from 17% to 25% by 2020; expresses its dismay at the proposal to lease Scottish woodland to commercial companies for up to 75 years, a decision that could, in the long term, threaten productivity, employment, sustainable use of woodland and environmental policy making, and calls on the Scottish Government to withdraw forthwith from any negotiations that may have been started and to renew its commitment to continue to support the Forestry Commission Scotland's important work on both climate change and sustainable development.

Written Questions

S3W-18692 Jim Hume: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has been approached by or has had discussions with private foreign timberland investment companies wishing to buy or lease the most commercially-viable forested land.

S3W-18691 Jim Hume: To ask the Scottish Executive to whom it plans to lease 25% of the publicly-owned forest estate to if it does not plan to lease it to private foreign timberland investment companies.

S3W-18690 Jim Hume: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it plans to lease 25% of the publicly-owned forest estate to private foreign timberland investment companies and, if so, whether it has consulted the 21,046 respondents to the Scottish Climate Change Bill consultation or invited them to comment on such plans.

S3W-18604 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what powers Forestry Commission Scotland has to sell or otherwise dispose of land that it owns.

S3W-18605 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Forestry Commission Scotland has powers to reinvest the proceeds of sales of land in new land purchases.

S3W-18606 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Forestry Commission Scotland has powers to lease land from others.

S3W-18607 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Forestry Commission Scotland has powers to lease land in its ownership to others.

S3W-18608 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland is held and owned on behalf of Scottish ministers.

S3W-18609 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Scottish ministers have powers to own land.

S3W-18610 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Scottish ministers have the powers to lease any land that they own.

S3W-18611 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what arrangements Forestry Commission Scotland has entered into with community organisations to manage forest land.

S3W-18612 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive under what powers Forestry Commission Scotland has entered into arrangements with community groups on leasing or otherwise arranging the management of part of the forest estate.

S3W-18613 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Scottish ministers have powers to transfer assets owned by the Forestry Commission Scotland to others.

S3W-18614 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Forestry Commission Scotland has powers to offer grant assistance to voluntary organisations.

S3W-18615 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the use of funds raised by Forestry Commission Scotland from the sale or lease of land is regulated.

S3W-18616 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the use of funds raised by Forestry Commission Scotland from the sale or lease of land has to be agreed by Scottish ministers.

S3W-18617 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether its policy is that the proceeds of the sale of land or its leasing by Forestry Commission Scotland form part of the forward financial planning of the Scottish Government during each spending review period and impacts on the net contribution of funds from it to Forestry Commission Scotland for defined periods of time.

S3W-18618 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether, within its powers, it can bind future Scottish Governments as to the treatment and use of funds raised through the sale or lease of land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland.

S3W-18619 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Scottish ministers are in any way constrained by regulation as to how they apply funds raised by the sale or lease of assets owned by Forestry Commission Scotland.

S3W-18620 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive how receipts from the sale or lease of land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland are treated in public accounting terms.

S3W-18621 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether income from the lease of land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland is required to be treated as capital.

S3W-18622 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what spending authority or powers will be generated by it through the lease of Forestry Commission Scotland land and whether any such spending authority or powers would be negated by any lease period below a defined minimum period.

S3W-18623 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the lease of land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland can form an annual revenue stream for it for each year of the lease period, payable in each said year.

S3W-18624 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the lease of land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland can take the form a single payment at the commencement of the lease to cover the entire lease period.

S3W-18625 Duncan McNeil: To ask the Scottish Executive what percentage of the population of Inverclyde is registered with an NHS dentist, broken down by age group.

S3W-18626 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is obliged to apply receipts from the sale or lease of land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland to forestry expenditure.

S3W-18627 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive by how much it plans to increase expenditure on climate change, as envisaged in the consultation on the future of the national forest estate.

S3W-18628 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive over how many years it plans to spend the potential assets derived from the lease of Forestry Commission land as envisaged in the consultation on the future of the national forest estate.

S3W-18629 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that income to it and its agencies and commissions from any source should be hypothecated to a specific purpose for any specific period of between two and 75 years.

S3W-18630 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that funding for specific purposes should be ring-fenced over prolonged periods of years.

S3W-18631 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the entering of joint ventures envisaged in the document Climate Change and the National Forest Estate - Consultation on forestry provisions in the Scottish Climate Change Bill could include leasing arrangements with third parties.

S3W-18632 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what rights currently held by Forestry Commission Scotland it envisages will transfer to any lease holders under the plans postulated in the document Climate Change and the National Forest Estate - Consultation on forestry provisions in the Scottish Climate Change Bill.

S3W-18633 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether, under the powers included in the document Climate Change and the National Forest Estate - Consultation on forestry provisions in the Scottish Climate Change Bill, it is envisaged that Scottish ministers of the current or any future administration would be constrained over the proportion of the national forest estate they proposed to lease or the proposed lease period.

S3W-18634 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it proposes to use the UK Woodland Assurance Standard or the UK Forestry Standard in any leasing arrangements for the national forest estate.

S3W-18635 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether Scottish ministers balance commercial interests with silvicultural, recreational and environmental interests in determining its policies on Forestry Commission Scotland.

S3W-18636 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that private firms investing in forestry in Scotland are bound to put the interests of their shareholders first.

S3W-18637 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what public benefits it considers are delivered by Forestry Commission Scotland.

S3W-18638 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive how it quantifies the public benefits delivered by Forestry Commission Scotland.

S3W-18639 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive how many people Forestry Commission Scotland directly employs.

S3W-18640 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has powers to direct Forestry Commission Scotland.

S3W-18641 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has powers to direct private forestry owners or interests in Scotland.

S3W-18642 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it considers that it is able to anticipate all environmental and other events that may have implications for the management of Scotland’s forests for periods of up to 75 years.

S3W-18643 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it can require private contractors to employ forestry staff transferred to them under transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) (TUPE) regulations for any specified periods into the future beyond those that TUPE may guarantee.

S3W-18644 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it can require private forestry interests to employ harvesting staff directly for forest management purposes where such private forest interests do not currently employ such staff.

S3W-18645 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of the cost implications for the remaining Forestry Commission estate of the lease and transfer of felling rights to private interests and whether it will publish any such assessment.

S3W-18646 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of the impact of leasing a proportion of the national forest estate on the training of apprentices in forestry and whether it will publish any such assessment.

S3W-18647 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of the impact of any reduction of Forestry Commission Scotland harvesting fleets on the viability of the mechanical engineering service and its potential earnings and contribution to the internal business financing of the commission.

S3W-18648 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of the impact on the costs of Forestry Commission Scotland of the leasing of up to 25% of the existing commercial national forest estate.

S3W-18649 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether there is any cross subsidy within Forestry Commission Scotland from commercial income to delivering environmental benefits.

S3W-18650 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether any assessment has been made of the impact on any cross subsidy within Forestry Commission Scotland from its commercial income to delivering greater environmental benefits if 25% of the commercial national forest estate were to be leased to private interests and whether it will publish any such assessment.

S3W-18651 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive whether reported cases of bird poisoning or persecution are proportionately greater in the national forest estate or in privately-owned or managed forests.

S3W-18652 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of the impact of leasing parts of the national forest estate on the restoration of native woodlands and whether it will publish any such assessment.

S3W-18653 Peter Peacock: To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment has been made of the implications of leasing significant parts of the national forest estate on the community right to buy under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and whether it will publish any such assessment

S3W-18580 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive what gross value added it estimates to be associated with timber in the public forest estate.
S3W-18581 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive what it estimates to be the gross value added from direct visitor spend attributable to woodland visits in the public forest estate.

S3W-18582 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive how many people are employed in the public forest estate.

S3W-18583 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to enable adults from the most deprived areas to visit woodlands in the public forest estate.

S3W-18584 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to enable adults over the age of 55 to visit woodlands in the public forest estate.

S3W-18585 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the biodiversity duty under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 would apply to land in the public forest estate that was leased to private interests.

S3W-18586 Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Executive whether land in the public forest estate that had been leased to private interests would be eligible for grant payments under the Scotland Rural Development Programme.

S3W-18419 Sarah Boyack: To ask the Scottish Executive whether the impact of the current economic downturn has been factored into the financial assumptions behind the proposals for the leasing out of at least 25% of the national forest estate.

S3W-18418 Sarah Boyack: To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will publish the business case on which proposals are based for the leasing out of management and cutting rights over the national forest estate.

S3W-18417
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  in which financial year it is anticipated that income will be generated by leasing out management and cutting rights over the national forest estate. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The timescale for the generation of income from the leasing option will depend on the decisions taken following the options review and consultation exercise, as well as the availability of the necessary legal powers.

S3W-18418
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether it will publish the business case on which proposals are based for the leasing out of management and cutting rights over the national forest estate. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The options review will be published after we have had the opportunity to consider it.

S3W-18419
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether the impact of the current economic downturn has been factored into the financial assumptions behind the proposals for the leasing out of at least 25% of the national forest estate. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The impact of the current economic downturn is one of the many factors that will influence our decision on the leasing option.

S3W-18415
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  what calculations have been carried out to establish how much of the national forest estate could be bought. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The amount of land which could be appropriate for leasing is a key consideration in the consultation exercise and options review.

S3W-18416
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  what level of income is predicted to be raised through the proposal that management and cutting rights over parts of the national forest be leased out. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The income raised from a lease would depend upon a range of factors including the area that it covered and its terms. There may be good arguments for a lease of up to about 25% of the national forest estate, we have taken no decisions on this. The consultation exercise and options review will help inform deliberations on this issue.

S3W-18412
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether it will guarantee that there will be no redundancies as a result of proposals for leasing out management and cutting right over parts of the national forest estate. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. There will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of any leasing arrangement arising from the consultation exercise and wider options review.

S3W-18413
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  how many staff are currently estimated to work in the areas identified under proposals for leasing out management and cutting rights over parts of the national forest estate. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. It is therefore too early to say how many staff are working in the areas which might be selected for leasing, should that particular option be taken forward.

S3W-18414
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  which areas of the national forest estate have been considered for leasing out or transfer to a public trust. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. It is therefore too early to say which geographical areas would be considered for leasing, but they are likely to be those parts of the national forest estate where timber production is the main objective, and where public benefits such as conservation, community engagement and recreation are relatively less significant.

S3W-18409
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether the transfer of Forestry Commission assets and land in perpetuity to a not-for-profit trust is an option being considered by the Scottish Government, as set out on page six of the paper Climate Change and the National Forest Estate - Consultation on forestry provisions in the Scottish Climate Change Bill. Mr Michael Russell:As the consultation document indicates, this is one of the options to be considered as part of the consultation exercise and the options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland.

S3W-18410
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether it has discounted the option of transferring assets and land in perpetuity to a not-for-profit trust, as set out on page six of the paper Climate Change and the National Forest Estate - Consultation on forestry provisions in the Scottish Climate Change Bill. Mr Michael Russell : No.

S3W-18411
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether it is envisaged that under the option of transferring assets and land in perpetuity to a not-for-profit trust, as set out on page six of the paper Climate Change and the National Forest Estate - Consultation on forestry provisions in the Scottish Climate Change Bill, such a trust would be prevented from selling on any land that it was given to manage. Mr Michael Russell : Under one option set out in the consultation paper, a not-for-profit trust could be given the task of holding in perpetuity the national forest estate land that had been leased. A trust could, however, also be given flexibility to sell any newly created woodland, which it had established using the proceeds of a lease, in order to generate funds to create more woodland. However no decision on that or any other actions possible for a trust have been made.

S3W-18406
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether it will confirm that it envisages that leases for management and cutting rights over the national forest estate will be for up to 75 years. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. No decisions have therefore been taken on the length of any leasing arrangement, although there may be good arguments for it lasting several decades. Forestry Commission Scotland will be considering a range of options on this aspect as part of its review.

S3W-18407
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  what safeguards it envisages will be inserted into the leases for management and cutting rights over the national forest estate to safeguard biodiversity, access, leisure and recreation. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The consultation exercise and options review will help inform Forestry Commission Scotland’s deliberations on the range and nature of the safeguards to be included in any leases.

S3W-18408
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  what level of monitoring it will put in place to assess to what extent biodiversity, access, leisure and recreation are safeguarded if management and cutting rights over parts of the national forest estate are subject to leasing. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The consultation exercise and options review will help inform Forestry Commission Scotland’s deliberations on the level of monitoring required to assess the extent to which biodiversity, access, leisure and recreation were safeguarded under a lease.

S3W-18403
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  how many companies it is envisaged will be involved in bidding for leases for management and cutting rights over the national forest estate. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The bidding process for any management lease would be subject to public procurement rules. It is not possible to predict the number of potential bidders at this stage.

S3W-18404
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether it is envisaged that leases for management and cutting rights over the national forest estate will be released in one block or in smaller parcels. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. No decisions have therefore been taken on the size of any blocks which may be leased, although there may be good arguments for a single lease. Forestry Commission Scotland will be considering a range of options on this aspect during its review.

S3W-18405
Sarah Boyack:
To ask the Scottish Executive  whether it envisages allowing foreign companies to bid for leases for management and cutting rights over the national forest estate. Mr Michael Russell: Offering management leases and cutting rights is a potential option for releasing capital from the national forest estate which could be used to fund woodland creation projects to help mitigate climate change. This option is included in a public consultation currently being carried out on Climate Change and the National Forest Estate http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7KUMVM. The consultation closes on 27 January 2009. All responses will be carefully considered and will be taken into account as part of a wider options review being carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland. The bidding process for any lease would be subject to public procurement rules, which include compliance with international obligations. Therefore, foreign companies are free to bid.