Farming-forestry balance a concern

Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson attended the NFU meeting at Thainstone
Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson attended the NFU meeting at Thainstone

Local MSP, Dennis Robertson said he shared concerns that local productive agricultural land has been earmarked for woodland expansion without prior consultation with local farmers.

The SNP MSP was speaking at a North-east meeting held by NFU Scotland at the Thainstone Centre,

The Scottish Government has announced that it has accepted the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group (WEAG) recommendations on where to plant trees in a report published this year.

Aberdeenshire West MSP, Dennis Robertson, said: “I am delighted to hear that NFU Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that it has accepted all 24 recommendations of the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group (WEAG).

“The idea of a review group composed of farmers, landowners, the Forestry Commission, including local communities to determine whether and where planting should take place on agricultural land is the way forward.

“Prime agricultural land is to be protected in our rural communities in order to sustain jobs in primary production and throughout related sectors, and to attract the new entrants the farming sector needs.

“2012 has not been the best year for farming, I know the Scottish Government is doing all it can to support those farmers who had been affected with the adverse weather.

“A range of measures have been put in place, I understand that Scotland’s Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead wrote to the banks to update them on the timing of Single Farm Payments and asking them to provide maximum flexibility for those farmers whose payments are not made at the start of December.”