Forestry and wood processing is an important sector in the Scottish economy, worth about £1 billion annually and employing 25,000 people especially in rural areas. We have established good partnership working and closer relationships with those in the sector in recent years, which has seen improvements in environmental performance. Our sector plan focuses on how we will build on these relationships, working with the sector to achieve regulatory compliance and identify opportunities where the sector could go beyond compliance. It also contributes to the delivery of climate ready forestry, helping achieve Scotland’s Forestry Strategy and Implementation Plan targets for the benefit of the economy, the environment and communities.
SEPA is committed to supporting regulated businesses during COVID-19 and following EU Exit. Whilst SEPA remains impacted by a complex and sophisticated cyber-attack the organisation continues to maintain protections for Scotland’s environment, communities and our people.
We recognise that the ability of operators to run their operations may be compromised.
We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to take all reasonable steps to remain in compliance with Scotland’s environmental laws. We expect operators to be actively preparing for the impacts of COVID-19, and ensuring that the impacts on the environment are minimised. We recognise, however, that in some cases operators may be unable to comply for reasons beyond their control.
Our regulatory response to COVID-19 public health emergency, the cyber-attack and EU exit can be found on our regulatory approach hub.
The environmental impacts from forestry production and wood processing can vary across the supply chain. Our sector plan sets out how we are going to work with the sector to deliver regulatory compliance. Opportunities exist to promote good forestry practices and showcase exemplar sites and technological enhancements that help the sector prosper within the means of one planet. The plan focuses on how SEPA can maximise influence to encourage and support innovative thinking and sector creativity, support the Scottish Government’s ambitious planting targets and be part of the sustainable land use solution.
SEPA regulates a wide range of activities with the forestry and wood processing sector. The sector plan sets out SEPA’s regulatory role; how compliance will be achieved and actions to work with partners who volunteer to go beyond compliance. Key regulations and legislation include:
In 2015, the First Minister pledged that Scotland would lead the way to deliver a more equal, more just world, by signing Scotland up to the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. These global goals give us the framework to achieve real change, from eradicating poverty to ensuring a good home for us all. This vision is underpinned by SEPA’s own regulatory strategy, One Planet Prosperity, which aims to deliver environmental protection and improvement in ways which help communities and businesses thrive within the resources of our planet.
Scotland’s businesses have a critical role to play in leading Scotland’s contribution to achieving SDGs. Through our sector plans, we have identified opportunities that will work towards achieving the goals and help realise the economic benefit of increased resource efficiency, innovation and resilience.
The actions set out in the Forestry and wood processing sector plan contribute towards Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.