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Forestry’s central importance to Scotland’s journey to Net Zero was the focus of a visit to a brownfield restoration site today (24 August) by Màiri McAllan, Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform.

Ms McAllan joined Forestry and Land Scotland staff and local community representatives at Mainshill, near Douglas, a former open cast coal mine in her Clydesdale constituency that is now being re-greened as part of an extensive community led woodland creation programme.

Ms McAllan, said;

“With forestry and woodland creation in Scotland becoming increasingly important, it is heartening to see these sites, which are part of our industrial heritage, being revitalized to play a part in tackling the Climate Emergency and provide biodiverse green space for our communities to enjoy.

“FLS has the expertise to restore these sites with a mix of woodland types and working with the community have developed a plan that will deliver many benefits, including tackling climate change, enhancing biodiversity and providing high quality green space for communities to enjoy.

“In time these sites will also create new recreation and education opportunities for local communities and, thanks to the inclusion of commercial forestry elements, opportunities for employment.”

The site is one of four being remediated in FLS’s Vacant and Derelict Land and Open Cast Coaling restoration project. Working with partners SMRT, East Ayrshire Council and Hargreaves, FLS has taken ownership of enough former coal sites to create 1200 ha of new woodland, with potential to double this through the restoration of a further 14 sites. 

The Scottish Government’s recent Programme for Government 2020-2021 reiterated the overall commitment to woodland creation and to merging this with the restoration of vacant and derelict land, especially from the legacy of opencast mining.

FLS has for over 15 years been involved in restoring and remediating a wide range of sites across Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and West Lothian.

Mainshill will be mostly planted with four species (conifer and native) to create a productive, resilient woodland and will include wetland habitats and native hedgerow planting to increase site diversity and community amenity.

Ms McAllan also visited Carron Valley Woodland (near Denny), the second site transferred under the Forestry and Land Scotland Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS).

As well as discussing FLS management of the adjoining woodland area the Minister also met representatives of the Community Woodland owners to discuss the group’s experience of the CATS process and the recreation, tourism and economic opportunities that it has delivered for the community.   


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or