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Forestry and Land Scotland has teamed up with Network Rail to explore how they can better work together to manage the risks and challenges on land where they are neighbours.

Access, harvesting and drainage issues, the removal of potentially dangerous trees and reducing the risk of landslips are just some of the areas where mutual advantage could be gained by working more closely together.

The significant potential benefits include the safety of forestry and railway staff, greater assurances with regards to public safety, the ongoing integrity of the rail network and being able to reach difficult-to-access blocks of commercial forestry.

Dave Pool, FLS’ National Utilities Manager, said;

“It was really useful to meet with the teams at Network Rail and the benefits of working together very quickly became apparent.

“For example, knowing when trains are scheduled to run on particular lines could also help us plan to safely access valuable crops that are close to railway lines. And our forest road network could provide Network Rail teams with quick access to remote or rural locations in emergencies, or to deliver or remove materials.

“Gaining a better understanding of our respective challenges helped everyone to very quickly appreciate that sharing knowledge and expertise could deliver significant benefits for both organisations, not least when it comes to the safety of our staff.”

Greater collaboration could increase timber income, generate savings for the taxpayer and help maintain a safe, efficient – and potentially more scenic - railway that will benefit communities and businesses across the country.

Jonathan Callis, senior asset engineer for Network Rail Scotland commented:

“Where we have two large landowners with so many areas of mutual interest, there is real value in looking at what we can be doing better or differently in order to be more efficient.

“Our preliminary discussions laid the foundations for a closer working relationship that will help avoid incidents, reduce costs and better utilise resources, helping to secure best value for the public purse.”


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