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News> Cabinet Secretary sees net zero role of forestry and wood first-hand

Cabinet Secretary sees net zero role of forestry and wood first-hand

Planting more forests and using more home-grown wood could be a “game-changer” in helping Scotland to meet its climate change targets, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero has been told.

Michael Matheson MSP was visiting EGGER’s Barony plant at Auchinleck, East Ayrshire today [Weds 10th August 2022], where wood is made into chipboard to make panels for furniture and interior design.

The site is the largest employer in the area, providing 120 high-quality jobs in East Ayrshire, and also has a thriving apprenticeship scheme.
 
Steven McArthur, Production Manager at EGGER’s Barony site, said planting more forests locally was vital to its continued success.
Cabinet Secretary sees net zero role of forestry and wood first-hand

 

“As a business, EGGER aims to secure 80% of its wood from forests less than 100 miles from our sites,” he said. “To continue doing that, we need more local forests to be planted.

“Those forests are soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as the trees grow, and when the trees are harvested to create wood products, the carbon is embedded in them. So it’s an economic and environmental win-win, and could be a game-changer in helping Scotland hit its net zero target.”
 
Scotland has set a net zero target, where total greenhouse gas emissions are equal to or less than emissions removed from the environment, of 2045, five years ahead of the rest of the UK.
 
Mr McArthur added: “As a business, we are fully committed to cutting timber road miles as much as we can, to further reduce our carbon footprint. The industry as a whole is grateful for the support the Scottish Government has given, to improve rural roads and build new forest roads, to further reduce the impact on local communities from timber lorry movements.”
 
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, said: “Scotland has planted 80% of all the new woodland in the UK for the last four years. That’s more than 10,000 hectares of new forests every year. We understand the vital importance of tree planting and home-grown wood use to our net zero ambitions and our economy.
 
“The environmental, economic and social value of Scotland’s forests and woods is enormous. They support well over 25,000 jobs in rural Scotland and add around £1 billion annually to our economy, while being superb examples of genuine sustainability. We need to create more of them to ensure there is a long-term timber supply for well-run businesses, like EGGER, so they can continue to provide high-quality jobs and offer career opportunities to young people in rural Scotland.”
 
Mr Matheson was accompanied on the visit by Dave Signorini, Chief Executive of Scottish Forestry, and other senior figures from the public forestry bodies.