1. ITV Report

Report highlights the importance of forestry industry

A new report into the importance of the forestry industry in Scotland has been released.

The paper, commission by Confor, shows how much the industry gives to the economy, in relation to more traditional sheep hill farming.

Our reporter Fiona McIlwraith went out with a forestry operation team in Dumfries and Galloway to find out more.

It’s an industry that is worth billions to the Scottish economy. Much of Dumfries and Galloway is covered by forest and it’s in places like the Silton Forest near Lockerbie that the real work is done to maximise profits.

The forest was the focus of the new report which shows just how important the industry is to Scotland.

The forestry industry is worth billions to Scotland Credit: ITV News Border

It compared forestry to the more traditional industry of hill sheep farming and showed how it can work with farmers for a better future.

"What came out very clearly was that forestry provides a very strong economic return compared to upland sheep farming, it’s three times as much, so over a 40 year period 10 million pounds for forestry compared to 3 million pounds for agriculture.”

– Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of CONFOR

The Silton Forest site currently has 55 hectares being harvested.

Once the felled trees leave here they only have to travel around six miles to the mill near Lockerbie. From there they can be exported worldwide.

These logs will be exported world wide once treated Credit: ITV News Border

It’s an industry in Dumfries and Galloway that is hyper local. Most of the men on site here at the mill and on the hillside are from the towns around the site.

Most of the workers are from surrounding towns Credit: ITV News Border

“It’s one of the big employers in the rural area, it creates some very good value added jobs within the saw milling processing sector which is very good for the Scottish economy, and a lot of guys work in the forest industry and rely on that as their main income, most of the guys working in the forest are all within 20 miles of the forest, 30 miles of the forest, they’re all based in Dumfries, Lockerbie, Boreland, they’re all very local.”

– Neil Dyson, Forest Manager

The report is keen to stress that they don’t think forestry should overtake farming as a vital industry in the region.

Instead, it says that the two can work closely together and change the Scottish economy for the better.