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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-17217: Emma Harper (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 12 June 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to empower community groups in South Scotland.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 13 June 2018

I am pleased to advise that on 1 June 2018, Forest Enterprise Scotland approved the following Asset Transfer Requests received under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS): 

CommunitySite
Peebles Community   TrustEshiels Wood:
6.9 ha   alongside the River Tweed, by Peebles
Friends of   Leadburn Community WoodlandLeadburn Wood:
9.4 ha near   Penicuik – an extension to the existing 44 ha community woodland on land   purchased from FES in 2007.
Dronley Community   WoodlandDronley Wood:
50 ha at   Auchterhouse, Angus near Dundee

These decisions recognise that community ownership of woodland can help to build community resilience and capacity, un-locking additional benefits.

In the case of Peebles Community Trust, ownership will allow the community to improve sustainable productive management of the woodland, resurrecting coppice management and the associated skills / experience. It also provides a space for further skills training and nature learning.

The Friends of Leadburn Community Woodland, previously established a community woodland on land purchased from FES. The increased area of ownership increases the variety of walks and adventure trails available whilst also providing an increased focus for activities and community events.

The existing woodland user group at Dronley set up a new community company, Dronley Community Woodland to purchase the site. The community intend to maintain and enhance the rich and diverse environment in the wood, and develop its educational, recreational and timber resource. In doing so the community will increase capacity, skills and confidence, exploiting innovative opportunities and generating a range of other long-term benefits and values to society.

These are the latest requests to be approved under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme for the National Forest Estate, following the approval in February 2018 of the transfer of land at Carron Valley to the Valley Renewables Group and approval in November 2017 of transfer of the Fairy Pools Car Park to the Minginish Community Hall Association.