Moray Council is to seek input on a broad front as it develops a strategy for the future of the area’s forests and woodlands.
The strategy will aim to expand woodland cover within Moray but also promote development opportunities for tourism, recreation and housing.
Almost 30% of Moray is covered in forest which generates income and employment, primarily from timber extraction, and economic development will be a key element of the strategy.
A working group has been set up to oversee the preparation of the strategy, with representation from the council, the Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage and HIE.
However, councillors today invited the views of anyone interested in forestry and woodlands for their views.
A ‘call for ideas’ document has been produced which outlines the main objectives of the strategy and invites people to make their views known.
The document also includes a series of questions and it is also proposed to have engagement events during May and June to stimulate further feedback.
A separate consultation will be held with the timber industry on specific issues such as harvesting and extraction.
A report to Moray Council’s planning and regulatory services committee today stated: “The content of the strategy will be informed by stakeholder engagement and reflective of the opportunities and challenges affecting forestry in Moray.
“It will also be a local interpretation of national priorities that reflects the unique qualities of Moray and demonstrates the importance of the forestry industry locally.”
It is planned to present the draft strategy to committee in November and to have the final version approved early next year.
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.