CONDITIONS for growth in the forestry sector have never been stronger because of increased funding which has resulted in more woodlands, buoyant timber prices and strong demand, according to Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Ewing increased the Forestry Grants Scheme budget from £40 million to £46m, which he said was enabling the approval of more woodland and tree planting projects.

Ewing told a Royal Scottish Forestry Society meeting in Inverness yesterday: “Our overall ambition is the continued growth of the industry, increasing the already substantial contribution that forestry makes to Scotland’s economy, environment and people.

“Getting the right trees in the right place is at the heart of forestry growth and it is very encouraging to see woodland creation activity on the increase.”

He added: “This is a transformation from where we were just a few years ago – one which this government has invested significantly in making happen.”