About Scottish Forestry

Visit our 'About' web page for more information about us. 

Visit our 'Our plans and programmes' web page for more information about our Corporate Plan and Business Plan.


Primary legislation relevant to us: Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018.

The Act was supported by a statement of administrative arrangements for devolution of forestry, which was laid before the Scottish Parliament in March 2019.

Secondary legislation - regulations and standards

Scottish Ministers' Forestry Strategy

Our Forestry Strategy presents the Scottish Government's 50-year vision for Scotland’s forests and woodlands and sets out a 10-year framework for action. It was developed in full consultation with a broad range of stakeholders.

Complaints procedure

Read our Model Complaints Handling Procedure for more information on how we handle complaints.

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides individuals with a right to request any recorded information held by Scotland’s public authorities. Anyone can use this right, and information can only be withheld where FOISA expressly permits it.  

We've made a commitment that, subject to the exceptions set out in the legislation, we'll publish all information which we hold which falls within the classes of information in the scheme. 

Before making a request, please check to see if the information you're looking for is already published below. If not, you can make a request via the 'Contact us' web page. For guidance on making a request, please visit the Scottish Information Commissioner’s website

Our responses to FOI requests are published on the Scottish Government’s website.

How we deliver functions and services

We're responsible for the forestry policy, regulatory and support functions of the Scottish Government. Our functions will also include those elements of the new cross-border arrangements that the Scottish Government is co-ordinating on behalf of Scotland, England and Wales. These are the management of the UK Forestry Standard and the Woodland Carbon Code as well as the provision of economic advice on forestry. To ensure that its policy functions are delivered as an integral part of wider Scottish Government policy-making, we'll operate very closely and collaboratively with colleagues in other parts of the Scottish Government and with Scottish Ministers. We maintain three public information registers:


Visit our 'Forestry Grant Scheme' web page for more information.


The UK Forestry Standard is the national reference standard for sustainable forest management, enabling the management our forests to meet needs now without hindering future generations from meeting theirs.

Tree felling

We regulate tree felling in Scotland. A permission is needed to fell trees and it is an offence to fell without one unless there's an exemption. With the introduction of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 and associated Regulations on April 1 2019, the old regulatory regime was repealed. To ensure continuity of felling and restocking operations, and to minimise disruption, certain aspects of the Forestry Act 1967 and its associated Regulations have been saved. We’ve set out what this means in our transition arrangements note and further information can also be found on the Scottish Government website.

Environmental Impact Assessments

We've a statutory duty to consider proposals for the following forestry projects:

  • afforestation (planting of new woodlands)
  • deforestation (felling of woodland to another land use)
  • the construction and maintenance of forest roads and quarries

If after assessing proposals, we consider that they'll have a significant effect on the environment, then we'll ask the landowner to formally apply for consent under the Forestry (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017. The landowner must submit an EIA Report that sets out how the project will deal with the significant environmental effects. We'll assess the EIA Report and also seek the views of interested parties. We'll then decide whether or not to grant consent for the proposals taking account of any responses we have received during our consultations. We'll notify all interested parties about our decision.

We publish details of the decisions that we make about our assessments of forestry projects in our Environmental Impact Assessment register.

The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 give the public rights of access to environmental information held by Scottish public  authorities. "Environmental information" covers a broad range of topics, such as:

  • the environment itself, including air, water, earth, and the habitats of animals and plants
  • other things that affect the environment, such as emissions, radiation, noise and other forms of pollution
  • policies, plans and laws on the environment

Contact us to make a request or visit the Scottish Information Commissioner’s website for guidance and more information on making a request.

Our responses to environmental impact requests are published on the Scottish Government’s website.

How we take decisions

Our Senior Executive Team (SET) comprises all Function Heads and Head of the Executive Office. The role of the Senior Executive Team is to lead SF and oversee the day-to-day management and direction of the agency, delivering against agreed programmes of work, and providing information, advice and guidance to the Chief Executive on key corporate matters and decisions.

Our Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) comprises all Function Heads and Non-Executive Advisers, as well as the Chief Forester. The group serves to support and provide advice to the CEO. Non-executive members are specifically selected for their expertise or experience in matters relating to financial strategy, risk, service delivery and change management.

The Audit and Assurance Committee (AAC) supports the CEO by providing advice and constructive challenge in matters relating to risk management, control, governance and associated assurance to support year-end accountability and reporting. The membership comprises non-executive advisers. The Chief Executive and Head of Finance and Business Services routinely attend, along with representatives from Internal Audit and Audit Scotland. The Committee can also sit privately without Executives, or any other party present for all or part of a meeting if required.

Public consultations

Consultation is an essential part of the decision making process. Before deciding whether to approve specific types of forestry activities we consult local authorities and other organisations with statutory powers in relation to land use, and make applications available for public comment by means of our public registers. Statutory consultees, local people and interested parties can offer valuable knowledge and insights that can be of great assistance when formulating forest management or woodland creation proposals. Moreover, developing a proactive dialogue can help improve decisions, implement forestry proposals more effectively, and lead to a culture of co-operation and support.

What we spend

Our annual report and accounts

The annual reporting on our aim, functions and targets, including our financial information for the year can be viewed via 'Our reports'.

Finance manual 

Read the Scottish Public Finance Manual for more information.

Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010

Under the Public Services Reform Act sections 31 and 32 of the Act Scottish Forestry as an Executive Agency of Scottish Government are required to publish information on expenditure as soon as is reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year.

View our annual reports and accounts.

Payments Over £25,000

We publish monthly reports showing all items of expenditure over £25,000 as directed by the Act.

View our payments over £25,000.

How we manage our human, physical and information resources

We've a service level (SLA) agreement in place with another agency, Forest and Land Scotland. Both are agencies of the Scottish Government and sit within the Environment and Forestry Directorate of the Scottish Government. The SLA covers the following range of services:

  • Human Resources (including payroll and E&D)
  • Learning and Development (L&D)
  • Health, Safety and Wellbeing (H,S&W)
  • Digital Services
  • Fleet Management
  • Building Services
  • Finance and financial Systems (19/20 only – other years by agreement)
  • Media

We use the Scottish Government’s eRDM tool, Objective for record management, and have our own file plan which sits within the overall Scottish Government plan.

View our Records Management Policy for more information.

How we procure goods and services from external providers

Contracts advertised

In line with Scottish Government policy, Scottish Forestry advertises all contracts on the Public Contract Scotland (PCS) portal. All contracts are published in line with the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) thresholds. Our Register of Contracts valued at £50,000 or over is also available on the PCS portal.

The following will be made available:

  • Procurement policies and procedures
  • Invitations to tender/Contract Notices for goods & services £5,000 and over
  • Contract Award Notices for goods and services £5,000 and over
  • Register of contracts awarded, which have gone through formal tendering, including name of supplier, period of contract and value
  • Additional information which is required to be published by applicable procurement legislation and statutory guidance (e.g. the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, the Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016 and Public Contracts (Scotland) regulations 2015)

How we're performing

Reporting against our defined Key Performance Indicators is available in the Corporate Plan section of the Our Plans and Programmes page.

Our commercial publications

We currently have no commercial publications. Charges may arise for information as explained in the charging policy in the Introduction to the Guide.

Information we publish

We're currently developing an Open Data Publications Plan and further information will be available in 2022. Details of publications and statistics can be in our 'Publications' section.