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									         MORAY
     FOREST DISTRICT
     STRATEGIC PLAN

STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL
    ASSESSMENT (SEA)
   Environmental Report




         Prepared for
Forestry Commission Scotland
             by
    Land Use Consultants


         March 2008




         37 Otago Street
        Glasgow G12 8JJ
       Tel: 0141 334 9595
       Fax: 0141 334 7789
     glasgow@landuse.co.uk
SEA Environmental Report – Cover Note Section 1
To: SEA.gateway@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Or
   SEA Gateway
   Scottish Government
   Area 1 H (Bridge)
   Victoria Quay
   Edinburgh
   EH6 6QQ

SEA Environmental Report – Cover Note Section 2

An environmental report is attached for the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan


The Responsible Authority is the Forestry Commission Scotland

SEA Environmental Report – Cover Note Section 3
Contact name     Nicol Sinclair
Job title        Planning Manager
Contact address  Forest Enterprise Scotland
Contact tel no   01786 222141

Contact email    Nicol.Sinclair@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
SEA Environmental Report Cover Note Section 4
Signature



Date                   10 March 2008




                                               i
ii
CONTENTS
Non Technical Summary ....................................................................... 1
1. Introduction ....................................................................................... 9
2. The Moray Forest District Strategic Plan 2007-2017 ................... 13
3. Environmental Baseline and identification of environmental
   problems.......................................................................................... 36
    Environmental Baseline.......................................................................................36
    Environmental Issues ..........................................................................................49
    Likely evolution of the environment without the Moray Forest District Strategic
    Plan .....................................................................................................................52
4. SEA Objectives ............................................................................... 53
5. Assessment of environmental effects .......................................... 55
    Assessment of the Forest District Strategic Plan ................................................55
    Climate Change Policies .....................................................................................55
    Timber Polices ....................................................................................................57
    Business Development Policies ..........................................................................58
    Community Development Policies.......................................................................60
    Access and Health Policies .................................................................................61
    Environmental Quality Policies............................................................................63
    Biodiversity Policies ............................................................................................64
6. Alternatives ..................................................................................... 67
7. Mitigation of adverse effects ......................................................... 81
8. SEA Indicators ................................................................................ 89




                                                              iii
iv
NON TECHNICAL SUMMARY

Background
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is required under the Environmental
Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations 2004. It is a systematic
method for assessing the environmental effects of plans and programmes during their
preparation allowing for the mitigation of any adverse effects before plan
implementation.
This is the non technical summary of the Environmental Report prepared as part of the
SEA of the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan. It sets out a summary of the SEA
process, followed by an outline of the likely effects of the Moray Forest District Strategic
Plan (FDSP). The Environmental Report takes into account the results of the SEA of the
Forest Enterprise national level Scotland Framework Strategic Plan (FSP) which should
be read alongside the FDSP.
An important element of SEA is making the information about possible impacts available
to the public and this non technical summary also sets out how to make comments on
the SEA process.

Summary of the SEA process
The SEA process to date has comprised a number of key stages. At the outset of the
assessment a scoping exercise was undertaken to identify the method and overall
content of the SEA, with a scoping report having been sent to the Scottish Consultation
Authorities – Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland and the Scottish Environmental
Protection Agency. Following consideration of comments on the scoping report, the
assessment of the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan was progressed, resulting in the
preparation of this environmental report. This report is now being circulated for further
comment, and will be reviewed alongside the content of the Moray Forest District
Strategic Plan on conclusion of the consultation period. Key findings from the SEA will
be monitored as the Strategic Plan is implemented.

Scope of the Environmental Report
The Environmental Report includes the following:

•   Key facts about the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan and an outline of its
    objectives;

•   Relationships with other plans, programmes and strategies;

•   Environmental baseline – current state of the environment and likely evolution of the
    environment without the Plan;

•   Identification of SEA objectives for the assessment;

•   Application of the objectives to the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan;

•   Assessment of alternatives;

•   Proposed mitigation measures;


                                              1
•   Proposed SEA monitoring programme.

Main Objectives of the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan
The 2006 Scottish Forestry Strategy provides the backdrop for the development of the
current generation of Forest District Strategic Plans. The Vision and outcomes outlined
therein are therefore central to the development of FDSP policies.

      Vision for 2025
      Scotland’s trees, woodlands and forests are a central part of our culture,
      environment and economy. People are benefiting widely from them,
      actively engaging with and looking after the resource for the use and
      enjoyment of the generation to come.

      Outcomes
      Scotland’s trees, woodlands and forests contribute to:

      •   Improved health and wellbeing of people and their communities
      •   Competitive and innovative businesses, contributing to the growth of
          the Scottish economy
      •   A high quality, robust and adaptable environment

      Themes
      • Climate change
      • Timber
      • Business development
      • Community development
      • Access and health
      • Environmental quality
      • Biodiversity


The strategic plan sets out how the forests managed by Moray Forest District will deliver
the SFS Vision and Outcomes. By producing locally-specific policies in response to the
seven broad themes presented in the SFS, the plan ensures that local issues are
addressed in parallel with national objectives.

The plan also aims to promote social and environmental justice, social inclusion and
sustainable forest management – making substantial contributions to the welfare of the
District’s people and to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

Environmental Baseline
NB: Any reference to ‘Forest District’ or ‘District’ denotes all land, private, public and non-forestry falling
within the administrative boundaries of the FCS Forest District. These terms are also used to describe the
corporate body of Moray Forest District.
‘National Forest Estate’ or ‘Forest Estate’ are used to denote land directly owned and managed by FES.


Moray Forest District is a landscape of contrasts. The intensively farmed and settled
coastal plain stands in opposition to the moors and hills of the rolling uplands which
merge into the foothills of the Cairngorms and Grampian Mountains. Although Moray is a
relatively ‘domesticated’ landscape with a number of large settlements, the overall
                                                       2
impression of the District is still predominantly rural. Habitats range from coastal sand
dunes and intertidal flats, through wetlands and ancient woodland to managed moorland
and sub-montane environments. The attendant range of species is therefore particularly
diverse.

The population of Moray is concentrated in the larger towns of the coastal regions, such
as Elgin and Forres. The economy of the area, once focused heavily on agriculture,
fishing and boat-building, is now much more diverse, encompassing the offshore
exploration sector, military aviation and whisky distilling. Many people in the District also
commute to work in both Inverness and Aberdeen. Although unemployment and social
deprivation are low, the area suffers from a continuing exodus of young people and
wages and output remain well below the national average.

The soils of the District are primarily glacial in origin, forming over sands and gravels (in
the northern, lowland, half of the District) or boulder clay (in the southern, upland,
areas). The fertile brown earths of the coastal zone have excellent agricultural potential,
while the humic and peaty podzols of the uplands are generally suitable for forestry.

A number of major river systems flow through the District, most notably the Spey. Like
the Spey, the Findhorn rises well outside the area, with only its lower reaches within the
boundaries of the Forest District. The powerful river systems of the region, combined
with often low-lying and relatively flat terrain, make many settlements in Moray –
especially Elgin and Forres – particularly prone to serious flooding. Moray is the heart of
Scotland’s whisky industry, and the watercourses of the Forest District are central to the
success of this multi-million pound industry.

Air quality in the District is generally good; however there are notable increases in
pollutant concentrations around the urban centres of the coastal zone.

The climate of the District varies with topography, with the upland zone in the south of
the area being considerably cooler and wetter than the relatively dry coastal zone.
Climate change is likely to affect the coastal region in particular, as predicted sea level
rises and increased severe weather take their toll on fragile coastlines and dune
systems. River hydrology has become more volatile in recent years and is likely to
worsen.

The relatively benign climate and fertility of Moray has long made the District an
attractive area for settlement. The evidence of human activity stretches unbroken from
Mesolithic hunter-gatherer communities through extensive Bronze and Iron Age
settlements to Pictish symbol stones, medieval castles and 20th century defence
installations. As much of this activity is concentrated in the lowland zone, comparatively
little of this heritage resource lies within the Forest Estate.

The landscapes of the District can be broadly divided into lowland and upland zones.
The low, rolling terrain of the coastal plain is a mosaic of farmland, small woods and
shelterbelts and settlement. This gives way to the interface of upland farms and
sweeping moorland, which leads into the foothills of the Cairngorms. This area is
penetrated by a number of fertile straths, such as Glen Rinnes, which relieve the
moorland with greener, gentler landscapes. The coastline of the District is of particularly
high value, especially around Findhorn Bay, Burghead, Spey Bay and Culbin Sands.



                                              3
SEA Objectives
The SEA was carried out by assessing the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan against
an agreed set of objectives in relation to each of which more detailed SEA ‘sub-
objectives’ have been developed to meet the particular needs of the Strategy SEA.

Assessment of environmental effects
The Moray Forest District Strategic Plan was assessed on a theme by theme basis,
assessing each of the relevant policies under each theme against the SEA objectives.

Likely effects of the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan
The assessment procedure and environmental report has found that the Moray Forest
District Strategic Plan will have a largely positive effect on SEA objectives. The following
paragraphs summarise the results of the assessment, highlighting that in many cases,
the FDSP is likely to result in positive environmental effects. There were, however, a
number of policy areas where the potential for adverse effects was identified. Many of
these issues were common to all 14 Forest Districts and have therefore been addressed
through Forest Enterprise Scotland’s new Framework Strategic Plan (FSP) which is
intended to be read alongside the district level plans. The net effect of this is to reduce
the potential adverse environmental effects and in some cases increase the positive
environmental effects identified at district level. Italic text is used in the following
paragraphs to indicate where the issue has been addressed through the national
document. It is anticipated that many of these policy issues will be incorporated in the
District Plan before it is finalised.



   •   The plan generally performed well when assessed against biodiversity, flora
       and fauna objectives, particularly in relation to habitat enhancement and
       environmental quality policies. However, there is potential for negative effects,
       especially through the development of renewable energy installations and leisure
       facilities. These effects are principally related to the lack of efficient policy
       safeguards in the plan, rather than a specific threat from proposed developments.
       FSP policies will require renewable energy projects to be considered in terms of
       their environmental impacts. It also includes a commitment to research the
       effects of recreation on the forest environment. There remains potential for other
       forms of non-forestry activity promoted on the forest estate to result in impacts.
   •   When assessed against population and human health objectives, the plan
       performed positively. By enhancing the environment, contributing to quality of life
       and creating leisure and employment opportunities, the plan stands to have a
       beneficial effect on local communities. The only apparent area for concern is the
       potential outcomes of portfolio analysis, which could result in land use change,
       with detrimental effects on communities through loss of access or amenity values.
       The FSP provides some additional information on the criteria that will guide
       disposal and acquisition, though much will depend on individual cases,
   •   The plan is likely to have a positive overall effect on the water and soil
       environments. The principal areas of concern relate to the development of non-
       timber activities on the Forest Estate and increased access and recreational use
       of woodlands, and are generally exacerbated by the lack of a soil protection
       policy. The FSP includes a commitment to comply with the Forest Guidelines on
       water and soil, though this relates principally to core forestry management
       activities.
                                             4
   •   The plan will have a largely positive effect on air quality. Woodfuel developments
       may have a negative impact, partly through primary emissions, but also through
       the use of road haulage to transport raw material to processors and generating
       stations.
   •   There will be a slight positive effect on climate change objectives through the
       mitigation potential of renewables and the potential of forestry to contribute to
       flood and catchment management. The development of habitat networks will also
       aid in species’ adaptation to the effects of climate change
   •   The 2007 draft plan should have a slight positive overall effect on landscape
       quality. This is particularly related to the implementation of improved forest
       design, habitat restoration and enhancement and environmental quality policies.
       The principal threats to landscape quality come from non-forestry operations –
       such as the development of renewable energy installations – which are not
       covered by the environmental protection policies. FSP policies will require
       renewable energy projects to be considered in terms of their environmental
       impacts. It also includes a commitment to research the effects of recreation on
       the forest environment. There remains potential for other forms of non-forestry
       activity promoted on the forest estate to result in impacts
   •   The plan will have a neutral or slightly negative effect on the historic
       environment. Although the majority of policies will have no effect, the
       development of non-timber sources of income, business development and
       afforestation policies could result in conflict with ancient monuments and their
       landscape setting. The FSP includes a suite of policies addressing conservation,
       management and interpretation of the historic environment.
   •   The plan will have a slight positive effect on material assets, particularly in
       relation to promoting the integration of forestry with other land uses.


Mitigation
The following measures are suggested to prevent or alleviate the negative effects
indicated by the assessment process:

   •   All environmental quality policies should be amended to cover all potential uses
       of the Forest Estate. FSP policies will require renewable energy projects to be
       considered in terms of their environmental impacts. It also includes a
       commitment to research the effects of recreation on the forest environment.
       There remains potential for other forms of non-forestry activity promoted on the
       forest estate to result in impacts
   •   Renewable energy, business and community development and access
       policies should ensure that development is steered away from areas of high
       biodiversity, cultural heritage and landscape sensitivity. FSP policies will require
       renewable energy projects to be considered in terms of their environmental
       impacts. It also includes a commitment to research the effects of recreation on
       the forest environment. There remains potential for other forms of non-forestry
       activity promoted on the forest estate to result in impacts
   •   Access and health policies should, where possible, prioritise public and non-
       motorised transport for access to the forest resource. Facilities should be
       concentrated in forests close to centres of population to limit the need for travel
   •   Business and community development policies should be amended to ensure
       that any land use change or project explicitly supported by the Forest District
       conforms to wider FCS social and environmental standards. FSP policies will

                                             5
       require renewable energy projects to be considered in terms of their social
       impacts. There remains potential for other forms of non-forestry activity promoted
       on the forest estate to result in impacts
   •   A robust soil protection policy should be added to the plan to safeguard this
       most fundamental resource. . The FSP includes a commitment to comply with
       the Forest Guidelines on water and soil, though this relates principally to core
       forestry management activities.
   •   Renewable energy and biomass policies should ensure that the development of
       woodfuel markets does not lead to an unsustainable reliance on road transport for
       raw materials
   •   The cultural heritage policy should be strengthened to require comprehensive,
       professional, archaeological surveys in advance of any significant forest
       operations to limit conflict with the historic environment. The FSP includes a suite
       of policies addressing conservation, management and interpretation of the
       historic environment – these include the requirement for surveys prior to
       significant forest operations..


Alternatives
Alongside the assessment of the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan itself, nine
alternate scenarios were developed and evaluated. These were:
    • The ‘do-nothing’ option of continued implementation of the 2000 FDSP
    • Direct implementation of the Scottish Forestry Strategy at a District level
    • Pursuing only one of the seven SFS themes as a policy priority (e.g.
       implementing only climate change policies to the exclusion of all other objectives)

These alternative approaches highlighted the importance of balance in the Strategic
Plan, as the effects of stressing one policy area generally produced less positive results
than a more rounded plan. Similarly, the 2007 plan demonstrates significant progress
over the 2000 version and presents a more realistic solution than local application of the
Scottish Forestry Strategy.


Monitoring
Under Regulation 21 of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes
(Scotland) Regulations, the Responsible Authority (in this case, Moray Forest District) is
required to monitor any significant environmental effects of the Plan. The identification
of issues that should be monitored is therefore informed by the assessment of
environmental effects of both the Moray FDSP and the national level Framework
Strategic Plan which will be read alongside it.
It is recommended that the suite of indicators identified in the Framework Strategic Plan
are employed to monitor the environmental effects of the Forest District Strategic Plan.
In addition, it is recommended that the following area is subject to monitoring:

   •   Visitor travel to and from the Forest Estate for recreation. This could be achieved
       by a combination of samples visitor/vehicle counts and visitor surveys. It could
       form part of the FSP commitment to research, in partnership with other
       organisations, the environmental effects of forest recreation.

   •   Timber transport associated with biomass and woodfuel production.

                                             6
Contact Point
For further information relating to the SEA please contact:
Nicol Sinclair
Planning Manager
Forest Enterprise Scotland
Tel: 01786 222141
email: nicol.sinclair@forestry.gsi.gov.uk




                                            7
1.     INTRODUCTION

       Purpose of this Environmental Report and key facts
1.1.   As part of the preparation of the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan, Forestry
       Commission Scotland (FCS) appointed Land Use Consultants (LUC) to carry out
       a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). SEA is a systematic method for
       considering the likely environmental effects of certain plans, programmes and
       strategies (PPSs). SEA aims to:

          •   integrate environmental factors into PPS preparation and decision-making;

          •   improve PPS and enhance environmental protection;

          •   increase public participation in decision making; and

          •   facilitate openness and transparency of decision-making.

       Overview of the SEA process
1.2.   SEA is required by the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes
       (Scotland) Regulations 2004. The key SEA stages in the regulations are:

       Screening          determining whether the PPS is likely to have significant
                          environmental effects and whether an SEA is required
       Scoping            deciding on the scope and level of detail of the Environmental
                          Report, and the consultation period for the report – this is done
                          in consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage, The Scottish
                          Ministers (Historic Scotland) and the Scottish Environment
                          Protection Agency
       Environmental      publishing an Environmental Report on the PPS and its
       report             environmental effects, and consulting on that report

       Adoption           providing information on: the adopted PPS; how consultation
                          comments have been taken into account; and methods for
                          monitoring the significant environmental effects of the
                          implementation of the PPS
       Monitoring         monitoring significant environmental effects in such a manner
                          so as to also enable the Responsible Authority to identify any
                          unforeseen adverse effects at an early stage and undertake
                          appropriate remedial action




                                            9
       Purpose of the Environment Report

1.3.   The purpose of this Environmental Report is to:

       •   provide information on Moray Forest District Strategic Plan;

       •   identify, describe and evaluate the likely significant effects of the PPS and its
           reasonable alternatives;

       •   describe how any adverse effects will be addressed through modification of
           the PPS or in relation to its implementation;

       •   provide an early and effective opportunity for the Consultation Authorities and
           the public to offer views on any aspect of this Environmental Report.

       Key Facts
1.4.   The key facts relating to Moray Forest District Strategic Plan are set out in Table
       1 below.


       Table 1. Key facts relating to Moray Forest District Strategic Plan
       Name of Responsible Authority      The Responsible Authority for undertaking the SEA is Forestry
                                          Commission Scotland


       Title of plan/programme            Moray Forest District Strategic Plan



       What prompted the PPS              Publication of the SFS in 2006

       Subject (e.g. transport)           The plan describes how FCS national, regional and corporate
                                          strategies will be applied at a district level. It sets priorities for the
                                          future management of the Forest Estate and covers forestry and non-
                                          forestry activities.

       Period covered by PPS              2007-2017

       Frequency of updates               Every 10 years

       Area covered by PPS                Moray Forest District

       Purpose and/or objectives of PPS   The plan describes how national, regional and corporate strategies will
                                          be applied at a local level. This Plan identifies Forest Enterprises
                                          policies and priorities within the Forest District, and the rationale
                                          behind them. It describes how the Forest District will deliver its part of
                                          the Scottish Forestry Strategy (SFS), which is the forest policy of the
                                          Scottish Government.




                                                  10
       Contact Point
1.5.   For further information relating to the SEA please contact:
       Nicol Sinclair
       Planning Manager
       Forest Enterprise Scotland
       Tel: 01786 222141
       email: nicol.sinclair@forestry.gsi.gov.uk




                                             11
12
2.     THE MORAY FOREST DISTRICT STRATEGIC PLAN
       2007-2017

       Outline and objectives of Moray Forest District Strategic Plan
2.1.   In Scotland, forestry is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the
       Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Government. Forestry Commission
       Scotland (FCS) acts as the Scottish Government’s forestry department. Forest
       Enterprise Scotland (FES) is an executive agency of FCS with the role of
       managing the national forest estate.
2.2.   Moray Forest District is one of fourteen districts with delegated responsibility
       for management of the national forest estate. It covers almost the whole of
       Moray Council area in the northeast of Scotland, from the coastal lowlands
       around Forres and Cullen to the northern Cairngorms at Tomintoul.
2.3.   The first generation of FDSPs were produced in 1999 / 2000 and formed an
       important planning link between the original SFS and individual Forest Design
       Plans. This first set of FDSPs was loosely based on the implementation of the
       original SFS with reference to the five Guiding Principles including the
       overarching principle of sustainability, a number of ‘strategic directions’ and a
       series of ‘priorities for action’ which together aim to deliver a sustainable
       forestry sector.
2.4.   Recognising that much has been achieved since 2000, but that policy aims
       and issues have changed significantly over the intervening period, FCS
       undertook a review of the SFS, leading to the publication of a new national
       strategy in 2006.
2.5.   The SFS sets an ambitious vision for the future of woodland and forestry in
       Scotland:

              By the second half of this century, people are benefiting widely from
              Scotland's trees, woodlands and forests, actively engaging with and
              looking after them for the use and enjoyment of generations to come.
              The forestry resource has become a central part of our culture,
              economy and environment.

2.6.   The over-arching principles of the SFS are sustainability and social inclusion.
       Scottish forestry must contribute positively to sustainable development, and
       meet internationally agreed standards of sustainable forest management.
       Those standards are set out in the UK Forestry Standard. This states that
       sustainable forest management recognises the need to link the social,
       economic and environmental values of forestry with people, based on good
       evidence and through effective engagement. At its simplest it means
       protecting woodlands and their associated benefits for future generations.
2.7.   The SFS set out national policies for woodland and forestry under seven
       priority themes:


                                            13
       •   climate change

       •   timber

       •   business development

       •   community development

       •   access and health

       •   environmental quality

       •   biodiversity
2.8.   The Moray Forest District Strategic Plan describes how Moray Forest District
       will deliver its part of the SFS. The plan comprises the following sections:

       •   The Planning Framework which describes the relationship between the
           FDSP and other forestry and woodland policy documents;

       •   Description of the Forest District which sets out the environmental
           characteristics of the district under the headings of:
              o Natural environment
              o Cultural environment
              o Forest resource

       •   Evaluation of the previous FDSP which describes the extent to which the
           key outcomes of the 2001 FDSP were achieved;

       •   Identification and analysis of issues which takes the seven national
           themes of the SFS and provides analysis and evaluation of their
           significance at a district level. Reflecting the strategic nature of the plan,
           only the most relevant SFS Objectives and main local issues have been
           included;

       •   Response to the issues, implementation and monitoring. Structured
           under the seven key SFS themes, this section describes how the Forest
           District will respond to the key issues identified in the previous chapter. It
           sets out proposed responses in relation to key local issues, monitoring
           proposals and key aspirations. This is the section of the document which
           most clearly sets out the district’s ‘policies’ for the coming decade, though
           these vary in the precision with which they are defined.

       Relationship with other PPS and environmental protection objectives
2.9.   Schedule 2 of the Regulations requires that the Environmental Report includes
       an outline of the PPS relationships with other relevant PPS, and how
       environmental protection objectives have been taken into account in the PPS
       preparation. This section covers these issues and describes the policy context
       within which the PPS operates, and the constraints and targets that this
       context imposes. It distinguishes between three types of PPS:

                                             14
      •   Other parts of the hierarchy of forestry and woodland plans and policies
          which govern management of the Forest Estate in Scotland;

      •   Other relevant elements of national policy;

      •   Other relevant policies which apply at the District level.

      Forestry and woodland planning framework
2.10. FCS Forest District Strategic Plans are located at a central point in the
      hierarchy of plans and policies governing management of the Forest Estate in
      Scotland. The hierarchy, which is illustrated in Figure 1, shows that District
      Plans are subject to the UK Forestry Standard which sets out the UK
      Government’s approach to sustainable forestry. This policy has influenced the
      preparation of the Scottish Forestry Strategy which sets out the Scottish
      Government’s framework for taking forestry forward through the first part of the
      new century and beyond. It sets out a vision of Scotland renowned as a land
      of fine trees, woods and forests, which strengthen the economy, which enrich
      the environment, and which people enjoy and value. This is a key influence for
      all subsequent tiers of woodland and forestry policy in Scotland, including the
      Forest Enterprise Scotland Framework Document which describes how
      FES will manage the Forest Estate in an efficient and environmentally
      responsible manner. Management of the Forest Estate is also subject to the
      UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (reflecting the UK Forestry Standard)
      which provides consumers with assurances with respect to the environmental
      and social implications of forest management.
2.11. The production of the new generation of Forest District Strategic Plans
      highlighted a number of issues common to many Districts where there was an
      obvious need to ensure consistency of approach at a national level. To
      address these concerns, the FES Framework Strategic Plan (henceforth
      referred to as ‘FSP’) was prepared to provide national policy and guidance to
      support and augment the locally-specific FDSPs. As such, the FSP is a key
      document facilitating the implementation of the SFS at a local level.
2.12. This national policy context means that Forest District Strategic Plans have
      been developed within a framework which defines clearly environmental,
      economic and social priorities for the forest sector and which provides equally
      clear safeguards to guide environmental management. This means that, while
      each Forest District has analysed locally significant issues and priorities, it has
      ‘inherited’ national policy priorities and, in implementation, will be bound by
      standards to ensure high environmental standards. This has implications both
      for the assessment of potential environmental impacts (which assumes that
      the UK Forestry Standard is met) and the range of policy alternatives which
      could reasonably be expected to be considered at district level.
2.13. As the title would suggest, Forest District Strategic Plans are strategic in
      nature and are implemented through a number of lower tier documents. This
      means that policies are relatively broad ranging, setting out priorities and
      overall direction of travel and rarely setting out spatially specific proposals.
      Again, this has implications for the assessment of potential impacts and the


                                           15
      likely requirement for more detailed assessment at more local policy levels
      and with respect to individual proposals.
2.14. Forest District Strategic Plans are implemented through the following lower tier
      documents:

      •   Forest Design Plans: These plans relate to individual forests and groups
          of woodlands. They describe the woodland, place them in context with the
          surrounding area and identify issues that are relevant to the woodland or
          forest. From these, objectives are set, long term felling and restocking
          plans prepared and opportunities to improve the woodland for nature
          conservation and recreation are considered. These individual Forest
          Design Plans are subject to formal consultation processes and have to be
          agreed with the Forestry Commission’s Conservator.




                                          16
Figure 1: Hierarchy of plans and policies relating to Forest Estate
Management in Scotland




         UK Forestry
          Standard




                       Scottish
                       Forestry
                       Strategy                         Indicative
                         2006                            Forestry
                                                       Strategies /
                                                         Forestry
                                                       Frameworks




                                   Framework
      UK                          Strategic Plan
      Woodland                                                 Local Authority
                                  Forest District
      Assurance                                                 Community
                                  Strategic Plan                  Planning
      Standard
                                                                   Process




                                    Annual
                                    Business
                                     Plan
                                                    Thematic
                                                      Plans
             Project
              Plans


                                    Forest
                                    Plans




                                             17
      •     Thematic Plans: These plans include Management Plans for Sites of
            Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) agreed with Scottish Natural Heritage,
            and Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) agreed with Historic Scotland.
            Thematic plans may also be written for specific projects or initiatives. They
            identify management objectives and prescriptions and form an integral part
            of Forest Design Plans.

      •     Project Plans: These include Operational Site Plans, which are prepared
            in advance of all major forest operations: i.e. felling, thinning, roads
            construction and restocking. The plans draw on Forest Design Plans and
            identify site constraints, risk assessment, opportunities, and areas requiring
            special protection etc.

      National policy framework
2.15. Table 2 summarises how the Forest District Strategic Plan affects, and is
      affected by, other relevant national level PPS and environmental objectives. It
      confirms the close fit between the objectives of the Forest District Strategic
      Plan and the national, policy context across a broad range of policy areas.
      Table 2: Relationship with policy context
          Name of plan /      Title of legislation and main       How it affects, or is affected by
          programme /         requirements of plan /              the FDSPs in terms of SEA
          objective           programme / objective               issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                                  of the Regulations /
                                                                  Implications for the FDSPS
          Forestry            Sets out a vision for Scottish      The FDSPs are the
          Commission          forestry based on the following     implementation mechanism for the
          Scotland (2006)     outcomes:                           SFS on the national forest estate
          Scottish Forestry                                       in Scotland.
          Strategy            1:Improved health and well-being    The FDSPs will achieve outcome
                              of people and their communities     1 through community
                                                                  development, access and
                              2:Competitive and innovative        recreation, skills and learning and
                              businesses contributing to the      cultural heritage related
                              growth of the Scottish economy      objectives.
                                                                  In relation to outcome 2, it is likely
                              3:High quality, robust and          that key FDSP objectives will
                              adaptable environment               include establishing an efficient
                                                                  timber supply chain and
                                                                  concentrating on tourism,
                                                                  marketing and rural business
                                                                  diversification.
                                                                  In terms of outcome 3 of the SFS,
                                                                  the FDSPs will include objectives
                                                                  relating to soil, water, air quality,
                                                                  biodiversity, landscape and
                                                                  climate change.
          Forestry            The two central aims of the         Provides relatively detailed aims
          Commission (2004)   Standard are                        and indicators in relation to
          The UK Forestry     • the sustainable management        achieving sustainable
          Standard: The           of our existing woods and       development. The SFS should
          Government’s            forests; and                    have contributed to these and
          Approach to         • a steady expansion of tree        translated them into the Scottish
          Sustainable             cover to increase the many      National Framework for the
          Forestry                diverse benefits that forests   FDSPs to follow.



                                                18
Name of plan /   Title of legislation and main          How it affects, or is affected by
programme /      requirements of plan /                 the FDSPs in terms of SEA
objective        programme / objective                  issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                        of the Regulations /
                                                        Implications for the FDSPS
                     provide.
                 Within this, key objectives include:
                 • Maintaining or improving the
                     stability of soil condition
                     (forest soil condition)
                 • Protect or improve water
                     quality (water quality, yield
                     and discharge)
                 • Protect and enhance value of
                     forests as carbon sinks and
                     stores (net carbon
                     sequestration and air
                     pollution)
                 • Maintain contribution of timber
                     production to the economy
                 • Conserve and enhance
                     biodiversity in and around
                     woodlands (nature
                     conservation
                 • Safe and efficient workforce
                     activities
                 • Opportunities are enhanced
                     for rural development; access
                     and recreation; quality of life;
                     awareness and participation;
                     community involvement; and
                     skills training.
                 • Protect and enhance cultural
                     heritage and landscape
                     quality.
FCS Corporate    Sets out objectives for the FCS        FDSPs should be in line with all of
Plan 2005-2008   which focus on both internal           these principles. In addition, note
                 activities and structures and          should be taken for the
                 outputs from the organisation.         requirement that FES should
                 Relevant strategic aims and            undertake stakeholder
                 objectives include:                    consultation during the course of
                 • Promote the expansion and            preparing or revising Forest
                     sustainable management of          Design Plans and Forest District
                     woodlands                          Strategic Plans.
                 • Increase the contribution of
                     woodlands to sustainable
                     economic growth
                 • Develop the potential of
                     woodlands to help improve
                     the health and well being of
                     all sectors of society
                 • Increase the contribution of
                     woodlands to the
                     enhancement of our natural
                     and cultural heritage.
FCS Corporate    Emphasises the growing need to
Plan 2005-2008   focus on climate change and
                 contribution of woodlands to
                 reducing net carbon dioxide


                                    19
Name of plan /       Title of legislation and main          How it affects, or is affected by
programme /          requirements of plan /                 the FDSPs in terms of SEA
objective            programme / objective                  issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                            of the Regulations /
                                                            Implications for the FDSPS
                     emissions through carbon
                     sequestration and use in energy
                     production.
                     Also notes that there should be
                     greater contribution of the sector
                     to sustainable construction.
                     Positive diversification of species
                     is a further aim, as well as
                     avoiding negative landscape
                     impacts, restoring and creating
                     new native woodlands, protecting
                     and enhancing habitats and
                     species and increasing
                     biodiversity levels within
                     woodlands with low levels of
                     interest or structural diversity.
FCS Education        The FCS has 4 stated objectives        FDSPs should recognise the
Strategy 2005-2009   on education:                          overall FCS objectives on
Learning for Life    1. Increase the use of local woods     education and seek to achieve
                     as an outdoor learning resource        these where possible.
                     2. Focus increased activity on
                     priority-secondary age groups
                     3. Develop our facilitator role as a
                     providers of woodland based
                     education opportunities
                     4. Increase recognition and
                     understanding of the potential of
                     woods as a learning resource and
                     an exemplar of sustainable
                     development.
FCS Woodlands In     The vision of the Woods in and         The WIAT initiative should be a
and Around Towns     Around Towns Strategy is to            key component of the ‘health and
(WIAT) Strategy      increase ‘the contribution of          well-being’ objectives of FDSPs
                     woodland to quality of life in         particularly in Forest Districts with
                     Scotland’s urban and post-             high concentrations of urban
                     industrial areas.’                     areas.
                     The WIAT Initiative will be a focus
                     for developing FCS ‘health and
                     well-being’ priorities in urban
                     Scotland:
                     • providing more opportunities
                          to access woods for learning,
                          activity and enjoyment;
                     • increasing the contribution of
                          woodlands to the quality of
                          our towns and cities; and
                     • increasing opportunities for
                          communities to be involved in,
                          and benefit from,
                          management of their local
                          woods.




                                        20
Name of plan /        Title of legislation and main      How it affects, or is affected by
programme /           requirements of plan /             the FDSPs in terms of SEA
objective             programme / objective              issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                         of the Regulations /
                                                         Implications for the FDSPS
Delivering ForestrySets out the detail to date of the    It is important that FDSPs are
Grants in Scotland grants for forestry in Scotland       aware of the new funding
2007-2011          proposed under the new Rural          framework for privately owned
(September 2006)   Development Regulation (2007 -        woodlands through the integration
                   2011) and its associated              of the Scottish Forestry Grants
                   Scottish Rural Development Plan       Scheme into the new Land
                   2007-2013. The rural programme        Management Contracts
                   will bring together a number of       arrangements, particularly as
                   rural grants, including forestry      LMCs are likely to result in more
                   grants, into an integrated            woodland expansion.
                   system for rural support
                   called Land Management
                   Contracts (LMC).
                   The grant scheme will cover:
                   • Creation of new woodlands
                   • The management of existing
                        woodlands
                   • Woodland improvement
                        activities
                   • Activities which help to
                        improve forestry business
                        performance and
                        competitiveness.
Forestry           This Strategy recognises the key      FDSPs (through the emphasis
Commission         role that woodland environments       within the SFS and the new Health
Scotland (2007)    have in helping people to be          Strategy) should focus on
Woods for Health,  active and contributing to Scottish   woodlands and forests and health
FCS Health         Executive programmes such as          improvement and incorporate
Strategy           healthy living, Active Travel, Safe   numerous mechanisms to better
                   Routes to Schools and workplace       promote health through
                   schemes run by the Centre for         woodlands.
                   Healthy Working Lives. It
                   demonstrates the SFS outcome of
                   ‘improved health and well being of
                   people and their communities’.
                   The Strategy sets out three
                   objectives:
                   • Increase the awareness and
                        understanding of forestry’s
                        contribution to health (train
                        and develop the forestry
                        sector within this);
                   • Form partnerships with the
                        health sector as a basis for
                        pilot activity;
                   • Increase the contribution of
                        woods and the forestry sector
                        to health improvement.
Sustainable development




                                        21
Name of plan /         Title of legislation and main         How it affects, or is affected by
programme /            requirements of plan /                the FDSPs in terms of SEA
objective              programme / objective                 issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                             of the Regulations /
                                                             Implications for the FDSPS
Scottish Executive     Sets out actions that Scotland        In order to ensure all policies are
(2005) Choosing        must achieve as part of the UK        sustainable FDSPs should adhere
our future             Sustainable Development               to the five principles (these should
Scotland’s             Strategy. It is based on the UK’s     also have been taken into account
Sustainable            Shared Framework for                  at SFS level). Using
Development            Sustainable Development (2005)        environmental resources more
Strategy               which has the following principles:   efficiently should also be a
                       • Living within environmental         consideration.
                            limits
                       • Ensuring a strong, healthy
                            and just society;
                       • Achieving a sustainable
                            economy;
                       • Promoting good governance;
                       • Using sound science
                            responsibly.
Scottish Executive     The report identifies a number of     This highlights that environmental
Environment Group      indicators of sustainability          resources are being degraded
(2005) Indicators of   development and notes that the        through lack of progress on
Sustainable            following indicators have moved       indicators such as transport and
Development for        in the wrong direction from the       renewable energy. The SFS and
Scotland, Progress     previous year:                        FDSPs should seek to address
Report                 • work: people as a resource          this within their own policies.
                       • Energy: renewable
                       • travel: distance
                       • travel: mode
                       • home life
                       • social concern
Scottish Executive     Non-statutory framework to guide      The National Planning Framework
(2004) National        the spatial development of            is a key document in the reform of
Planning               Scotland to 2025.                     the planning system in Scotland.
Framework for          The key aims of the strategy for      It is however a framework
Scotland               Scotland's spatial development to     document and not a masterplan
Links to the           2025 are:                             but covers all topics with a spatial
partnership            • to increase economic growth         implication. It is to be taken into
agreement                   and competitiveness;             account by the Executive and its
                       • to promote social and               agencies in policy and spending
                            environmental justice; and       decisions. The role of forestry is
                       • to promote sustainable              particularly relevant in the third
                            development and protect and      aim (enhancing the environment)
                            enhance the quality of natural   by ensuring the remediation of
                            and built environments.          vacant and derelict land, the
                       Note: The National Planning           expansion of green networks and
                       Framework is being reviewed and       opportunities for biodiversity.
                       NPF2 will set
                       out a spatial strategy for the
                       period to 2030.




                                          22
Name of plan /        Title of legislation and main        How it affects, or is affected by
programme /           requirements of plan /               the FDSPs in terms of SEA
objective             programme / objective                issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                           of the Regulations /
                                                           Implications for the FDSPS
SEA has been          SEA ASSESSMENT: All of the
carried out for the   aims are likely to have some
NPF                   positive effects on the
                      environment. Increased economic
                      growth and competitiveness can
                      deliver a higher quality of life,
                      improved infrastructure and better
                      environments. A commitment to
                      environmental justice can ensure
                      improved living environments and
                      better health for disadvantaged
                      communities. However, care will
                      need to be taken to ensure that
                      development promoted in
                      furtherance of economic growth
                      and competitiveness
                      complements and reinforces
                      environmental aims and
                      objectives. Proposals will need to
                      be carefully assessed at the
                      development plan and project
                      stages.
Rural development
Land Reform         Part 1 of the Act introduces:          FDSPs could help to contribute to
(Scotland) Act 2003 • Statutory right of responsible       the development of core path
and Scottish            access;                            networks and must also seek to
Outdoor Access      • Reciprocal obligation on             ensure good management of path
Code                    owners to manage their land        networks. Community land
                        responsibly;                       ownership is likely to raise further
                    • Places a duty on local               issues for forestry and woodland
                        authorities to uphold access       management, with parts of the
                        rights and to maintain core        FCS estate changing hands as a
                        paths.                             result of the legislation.
                    Part 2 introduces:
                    • Community right to buy
                    Part 3 introduces:
                    • Crofting community right to
                        buy
                    The Scottish Outdoor Access
                    Code, which aims to support the
                    access provisions of the Act, is
                    based on three key principles:
                    • Respect the interests of other
                        people
                    • Care for the environment
                    • Take responsibility for your
                        own actions




                                        23
Name of plan /      Title of legislation and main          How it affects, or is affected by
programme /         requirements of plan /                 the FDSPs in terms of SEA
objective           programme / objective                  issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                           of the Regulations /
                                                           Implications for the FDSPS
The European        The European Rural Development
Rural Development                                          The 2007-13 SRDP will implement
                    Regulation (RDR) (1698/2005)
Regulation (RDR)    came into force in January 2007.       actions to support the
(1698/2005) Rural                                          performance of the forestry
Development         The policy objectives of the RDR       sectors' objectives of the Scottish
Programme for       aim to improve the                     Forestry Strategy 2006.
Scotland 2007-      competitiveness of farming and         Resources will be devoted to
2013, Strategic     forestry, to enhance the               building viable agriculture and
Plan.               environment and countryside            forestry businesses, helping the
                    through support for land               agriculture and forestry sectors to
                    management, to improve the             respond to market opportunities in
                    quality of life in rural areas and     environmentally sustainable ways
                    encourage diversification of the       and to add value through
                    rural economy.                         collaboration and knowledge
                                                           transfer, improved local
                    The National Strategic Plan for        processing and better integration
                    Scotland guides the use of             of supply chains.
                    European Union (EU) funds and          Also key will be the preservation
                    other resources for rural              and development of high nature
                    development in the 2007-13             value farming and forestry
                    Scotland Rural Development             systems.
                    Programme (SRDP).

                    The Plan sets out actions under
                    each axis of the RDR, which are:
                    Axis 1 - Improving the
                    competitiveness of agriculture and
                    forestry by supporting
                    restructuring, development and
                    innovation

                    Axis 2 - Improving the
                    environment and the countryside
                    by supporting land management.

                    Axis 3 - Improving the quality of
                    life in rural areas and encouraging
                    diversification of economic activity

                    Axis 4: LEADER




                                       24
       Name of plan /       Title of legislation and main        How it affects, or is affected by
       programme /          requirements of plan /               the FDSPs in terms of SEA
       objective            programme / objective                issues at Schedule 2, para 6(a)
                                                                 of the Regulations /
                                                                 Implications for the FDSPS
       Scottish Executive   Updates the first statement on       This rural policy emphasises the
       (2007) Rural                                              role of forestry in contributing to
                            rural policy – Rural Scotland: A
       Scotland: Better     New Approach (2000).                 the economy and having
       Still, Naturally.                                         landscape and environmental
                            It sets out the following key        benefits. It sets out the key aims
                            objectives within the overall        of the SFS and acknowledges the
                            context of sustainable               role forestry will play in delivering
                            development:                         carbon savings and contributing to
                                                                 biodiversity aims.
                            •   broaden and strengthen the
                                rural economy, including the
                                skills base;
                            •   protect, maintain and develop
                                our natural and cultural
                                assets;
                            •   improve the accessibility and
                                quality of services people and
                                businesses depend on;
                            •   address the challenges and
                                opportunities of population
                                change;
                            •   promote social and economic
                                inclusion;
                            •   help to build resilient,
                                sustainable rural
                                communities;
                            •   improve stakeholder
                                engagement;
                            •   improve focus, delivery and
                                measurement of progress
                                towards the main outcomes.



      District level policies and plans


2.16. Table 3 summarises how the Forest District Strategic Plan affects, and is
      affected by, other relevant district level PPS and environmental objectives. It
      confirms the close fit between the objectives of the Forest District Strategic
      Plan and the more local policy context across a broad range of policy areas.




                                               25
Table 3
Name of plan / programme       Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /                How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                    objective                                                                       in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                               para 6(a) of the Regulations.

Moray a Sustainable Future –   An Agenda 21 Strategy that sets out the Council’s vision for a                  The FDSP should to seek to support the
Strategy and Action Plan       sustainable community in Moray and a five year framework of action.             strategy through measures to protect and
2002                                                                                                           enhance the environment, contributing
                                                                                                               towards the rural economy, and providing
                                                                                                               opportunities for leisure and recreation.

Moray Structure Plan (2007)    Sets out the main land use planning objectives for Moray to the year            Although forestry operations are exempt from
                               2025. The key priorities of the plan are to promote economic                    planning control, the FDSPs should
                               opportunities and diversify the local economy, to spread the benefits of        recognise the objectives of the Moray Local
                               economic development throughout the whole area, to allow small                  Plan and seek to adhere to the relevant
                               scale development in rural areas and to safeguard and enhance the               policies and proposals contained within the
                               environment and mitigate any impacts caused by new development.                 plan.

                               In specific relation to forestry, the plan identifies potential opportunities   In particular, the FDSP should consider
                               to develop medium/small scale biomass plants to take advantage of               identifying potential areas for biomass energy
                               locally available wood resources and outlines that it will safeguard            plants in relation to the forest resource.
                               preferred areas of land for forestry (as identified in the Moray forest
                               Strategy) from development.

Highland Structure Plan 2001   The Highland Structure Plan sets out a shared vision of how people in           Although forestry operations are exempt from
                               the Highlands can work together to develop a prosperous future,                 planning control, the FDSP should recognise
                               strong communities and a healthy environment. It sets the framework             the objectives of Perth and Kinross Structure
                               for sustainable development over 20 years.                                      Plan and seek to adhere to the relevant
                                                                                                               policies and proposals contained within the
                               Plan identifies that forestry is a significant land use within Highland         plan.
                               and makes a valuable contribution to the rural economy. Although it is
                               not subject to statutory planning it has a wide range of economic,              The FDSP should realise its potential to
                               environmental and social impacts. It is, therefore, important to                contribute to rural development through
                               maximise forestry's contribution to the generation of employment, the           employment generation and landscape and
                               landscape and recreational opportunities by guiding developments to             recreational opportunities.
                               appropriate locations.




                                                                                26
Name of plan / programme       Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /          How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                    objective                                                                 in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                         para 6(a) of the Regulations.

Moray Local Plan (Finalised)   Sets out the main land use planning objectives for Moray for the next     Although forestry operations are exempt from
(2006)                         five to ten years, and aims to conform with the Finalised Moray           planning control, the FDSPs should
                               Structure Plan which is currently waiting approval. The Plan supports     recognise the objectives of the Moray Local
                               the development of forest strategies to identify suitable areas for new   Plan and seek to adhere to the relevant
                               forestry planting, and sets out the policy criteria against which the     policies and proposals contained within the
                               Council will respond to new planting proposals. These include the         plan.
                               impact new planting will have on the landscape, water quality and
                               quantity, wildlife and nature conservation and opportunities for
                               recreation. The Plan also supports biomass energy proposals.

Cairngorm National Park        Provides the strategic context for land use planning and management       The Park Plan provides the context and
Plan                           issues within the Cairngorms National Park. The Plan provides a long      strategic direction for all other plans, policies
                               term vision (the next 25 years) and a short term vision (the next five    and strategies that are relevant to the
                               years).                                                                   aims of the Park, including the FDSPs.

                               The key aims of the plan are:                                             The FDSP should accurately reflect the four
                               • to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the        key aims of the National Park and the
                                  area;                                                                  Strategic Objectives for forestry listed within
                               • to promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area;        the National Park Plan, as well as outlining
                               • to promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in          how the objectives relating to forest and
                                  the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the    woodland management in particular could be
                                  public;                                                                met.
                               • to promote sustainable economic and social development of the
                                  area's communities.

                               The Plan also contains specific strategic objectives relating to forest
                               and woodland management. These include to
                               • Promote multi-objective forest and woodland management that
                                  delivers environmental, economic and social benefits.
                               • Enhance the condition of existing woodland cover and expand to
                                  develop habitat networks that complement the landscape
                                  character and other land-uses.
                               • Encourage a full range of forest ecosystems from valley floor to
                                  natural altitudinal tree-line in targeted areas and the re-


                                                                             27
Name of plan / programme       Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /               How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                    objective                                                                      in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                              para 6(a) of the Regulations.

                                   development of woodland types that have declined.
                               •   Increase the value of timber and other local forest products,
                                   strengthen supply chains and develop new markets.
                               •   Promote the value of forests and woodlands as a major
                                   sustainable tourism asset, increasing the derived economic
                                   benefits to woodland owners and local communities.
                               •   Promote community participation in forest and woodland planning
                                   and management.
                               •   Contribute to national efforts to address climate change.

Moray Forest Strategy (2002)   The overall aim of the Moray Forest Strategy is to assist with the             The FDSP should conform with the Moray
                               implementation of the Scottish Forestry Strategy by guiding and                Forest Strategy, and should seek to help to
                               promoting sustainable forestry within Moray. Three rather general              secure common objectives and goals. In
                               main objectives are identified in the Moray Strategy: Firstly with an          particular, the FDSP will be required to
                               economic focus, to support the local economy; secondly from an                 ensure that woodland planting proposals are
                               environmental point of view, to conserve and enhance the                       balanced with landscape, nature
                               environment; and thirdly, covering social aspects, to enhance the              conservation, soil quality and recreational
                               quality of life of rural communities. Supporting the local economy             issues.
                               includes aspects with respect to the local economy, timber production
                               and local infrastructure as well as issues in relation to diversification of
                               agricultural land use. The second aim covers aspects relating to
                               nature conservation, landscape character, water quality and river
                               catchments and native woodlands. The third objective, on the other
                               hand, includes countryside around towns, recreation and tourism and
                               community involvement. Under these objectives a range of priorities
                               for action are defined.

Cairngorms Forest and          Provides a strategic basis for future development of forests and               The FDSP should conform with the policies
Woodland Framework Draft       woodland in the Cairngorms National Park area. It sets out the broad           and objectives of the CFWF to ensure there
Update (2006)                  strategic objectives and more specific priorities for the area as a            is a consistent approach towards the
                               whole. The focus of the framework is on enhancing habitat networks             implementation of the framework.
                               and on supporting multi-objective woodland management, including
                               timber production, fuel wood, recreation and nature conservation. The
                               need to protect the distinctive landscape character of the Cairngorms



                                                                               28
Name of plan / programme     Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /        How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                  objective                                                               in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                     para 6(a) of the Regulations.

                             is also highlighted as being of great importance. Opportunities for
                             establishing a gradation of tree and scrub cover from valley floor to
                             natural tree-line in targeted areas are also promoted.


Highland Forest and          Strategy aims to guide the development and management of                The FDSP should conform with the strategy
Woodland Strategy            woodland and forestry over the coming years. Key objectives the         and should seek to reflect and implement key
                             strategy seeks to deliver are:                                          themes and priorities at a district level.
                             • ensure sustainability
                             • increase the community benefit from forestry and woodlands;
                             • identify opportunities for forest and woodland expansion
                                 compatible with other interests;
                             • improve existing forests and woodlands to enhance forestry's
                                 contribution to the economy and environment of Highland;
                             • work with partners to address economic and infrastructure issues;
                             • retain and enhance the level of funding for forestry in Highland

                             Priorities for implementation include:
                             • increasing benefits from forestry and woodland
                             • enhancing the regions attractiveness for tourism and recreation via
                                 woodland development
                             • expansion of areas of native woodland, particularly in areas of
                                 higher natural heritage value or important areas for recreation
                             • expansion of productive timber
                             • improvement of the infrastructure for forestry and local processing

                             The strategy also contains an IFS showing areas of sensitivity which
                             provides the context for WGS applications

Draft Moray Core Path Plan   The Council is developing a Core Path Plan which seeks to identify a    The FDSP should support the Moray Core
                             network of paths sufficient for the purpose of giving the public        Path Plan and the Moray Local Outdoor
                             reasonable access throughout their area in accordance with the Land     Strategy, emphasising the importance of
                             Reform (Scotland) Act. The Plan is still currently in the process of    forestry and woodland as an access resource
                             being drawn up.                                                         in rural areas.


                                                                           29
Name of plan / programme     Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /          How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                  objective                                                                 in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                       para 6(a) of the Regulations.

Moray Local Outdoor Access
Strategy                     The Moray Outdoor Access Strategy is also currently being revised
                             and is intended to be integrated with the More Core Path Plan. A key
                             component of the plan will be addressing the lack of paths close to
                             where people live in rural areas.

North East Scotland Local    Plan aims to translate national biodiversity objectives to maintain or    The policies and proposals contained within
Biodiversity Action Plan     increase special or threatened species populations or habitats            the FDSP must have regard to the identified
(NELBAP)                     occurring in the appropriate areas through a range of conservation and    priority species and habitats within the Local
                             restoration methods. Sets out clear targets and the list of actions       Biodiversity Action Plan and avoid any
                             required to meet these targets.                                           negative impact upon them. Instead, the
                                                                                                       FDSP should aim to protect and enhance
                             Around 398 of the nationally listed species occur in the North-east (c    priority species and their habitats identified
                             30%), including 107 of 508 species (21%) on the high priority 'Short'     within the Plan.
                             and 'Middle' Lists. Aberdeenshire holds 309 of the listed species,
                             Moray 275, Aberdeen 161 and the sea area 65. For the Short and            The FDSP could also have a role to play in
                             Middle list species, an analysis of distributions suggests that NW        raising awareness of the importance of
                             Moray and Deeside have the highest numbers of listed species.             protecting local biodiversity.
                             Concentrations also occur in Donside, lower Speyside, around Haddo
                             House and Aberdeen itself.

                             The majority (48 / 61) of the UK listed habitats are found in the area.
                             These include 28 of the priority 'Key' habitats, of which 12 are also
                             'Broad' habitats and a further 20 'Broad' habitats. Aberdeenshire holds
                             examples of c 44 of these, Moray c 45 and Aberdeen c 29. Habitats
                             which are well represented in NE Scotland in a UK or Scottish context
                             are: native pine woods, planted coniferous woodlands, acid grassland,
                             upland heathland (moorland), montane habitats, lowland raised bogs,
                             fens, coastal vegetated shingle, sand dunes and open sea. In addition,
                             6 locally important habitats were identified; of these, birch woodlands
                             and serpentine grassland/heath were considered to be of national
                             significance.




                                                                          30
Name of plan / programme    Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /            How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                 objective                                                                   in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                        para 6(a) of the Regulations.

Inverness and Nairn Local   Plan aims to translate national biodiversity objectives to maintain or      The policies and proposals contained within
Biodiversity Action Plan.   increase special or threatened species populations or habitats              the FDSP must have regard to the identified
                            occurring in the appropriate areas through a range of conservation and      priority species and habitats within the Local
                            restoration methods. Sets out clear targets and the list of actions         Biodiversity Action Plan and avoid any
                            required to meet these targets.                                             negative impact upon them. Instead, the
                                                                                                        FDSP should aim to protect and enhance
                            The following general objectives are suggested as over-arching              priority species and their habitats identified
                            themes to guide biodiversity work in Nairn over the next 5 to 10 years:     within the Plan.
                            • to safeguard the biodiversity of existing habitats;
                            • to ensure all future developments take account of local                   The FDSP could also have a role to play in
                               biodiversity;                                                            raising awareness of the importance of
                            • to encourage a holistic approach to the management of land and            protecting local biodiversity.
                               natural resources that takes account of local biodiversity;
                            • to improve access to information about important habitats and
                               species, and their management requirements;
                            • to raise awareness of biodiversity and pressures upon it;
                            • to identify local opportunities to improve biodiversity and promote
                               positive attitudes from an early age
                            • to maximise the sustainable economic benefit from biodiversity;
                            • to establish a mechanism to help deliver the Inverness & Nairn
                               Biodiversity Action Plan.

Badenoch and Strathspey     Plan aim to translate national biodiversity objectives to maintain or       The policies and proposals contained within
(Cairngorms) Local          increase special or threatened species populations or habitats              the FDSP must have regard to the identified
Biodiversity Action Plan    occurring in the appropriate areas through a range of conservation and      priority species and habitats within the Local
                            restoration methods. Sets out clear targets and the list of actions         Biodiversity Action Plan and avoid any
                            required to meet these targets                                              negative impact upon them. Instead, the
                                                                                                        FDSP should aim to protect and enhance
                            Identifies that more than four hundred UK biodiversity listed species       priority species and their habitats identified
                            are present in this area, including one hundred (a quarter of UK’s total)   within the Plan.
                            on the Government’s ‘Priority’ biodiversity list. For a considerable
                            number of these, the Cairngorms holds a significant proportion of the       The FDSP could also have a role to play in
                            UK population and range, and in a few cases, the entire population.         raising awareness of the importance of
                                                                                                        protecting local biodiversity.


                                                                          31
Name of plan / programme   Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /             How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                objective                                                                    in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                        para 6(a) of the Regulations.

                           The specific aims of the Cairngorms LBAP are:
                           • To take forward national biodiversity priorities (UK Habitat and
                              Species Action Plans) by helping to deliver them at a local level;
                           • To conserve locally important species and habitats;
                           • Engage local people and visitors in the management of the
                              biodiversity and ensure that they benefit from biodiversity;
                           • To bring together in partnership those working in the Cairngorms
                              to better achieve biodiversity conservation;
                           • To deliver several key objectives in the Cairngorms Partnership’s
                              Management Strategy;
                           • To set clear, achievable targets and be transparent about progress
                              towards them.

NHF: North East Coastal    The Natural Heritage Futures (NHFs) provide data and information             FDSP should consider its potential effects on
Plain                      about the natural heritage in 21 different areas across Scotland. The        the Natural Heritage Future Areas and outline
                           documents set out a number of common goals for the protection and            where contributions can be made to
NHF:North East Glen        management of the natural heritage which are intended to inform a            woodland and forestry objectives as well as
                           wide range of plans and strategies that fall within the relevant             to wider landscape feature and
NHF: Moray Firth           geographical area.                                                           environmental objectives.

                           Among the key challenges facing the North East Coastal Plain area            In the North East Coastal Plain area and
                           are to increase the natural heritage value of agricultural land (including   North East Glens area, the FDSP will have a
                           the raised bog and woodland resource) and to increase the quality of         strong role to play due to the significance of
                           fresh waters and associated biodiversity. In specific relation to            woodland and forestry as part of the natural
                           forestry, the document aims to encourage more commercial woodland            heritage resource. Particular aims which
                           planting on better quality agricultural land to promote farm                 should be supported include tree and
                           diversification and provide for landscape diversity and access.              woodland planting on farmland and requiring
                                                                                                        woodlands and forestry to be better designed
                           Among the key challenges facing the North East Glens area are to             and managed in the future.
                           encourage greater awareness of the value of native woodland types
                           for multi-purpose forestry (including initiatives to conserve and            In the Moray Firth area, the FDSP will have
                           enhance its value) and to increase opportunities for restructuring           an important role to play in achieving a
                           commercial plantations and improving their environmental benefits.           balance of land use between farming and
                           The need for better management of red deer populations in order to           forestry, increasing native woodland planting



                                                                          32
Name of plan / programme        Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /          How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                     objective                                                                 in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                          para 6(a) of the Regulations.

                                protect the regeneration of forests and woodlands is also identified      and improving countryside access.

                                Among the key challenges facing the Moray Firth area are to better
                                integrate agriculture and forestry, to expand and restore the areas of
                                native woodland and to establish footpaths around settlements and
                                increased facilities for wider countryside access.

Highlands and Islands           Translates the strategic objectives of the national enterprise strategy   The FDSP should consider assisting with
Enterprise (April 2002) Smart   to the Highlands and Islands. Presents a framework for action focusing    these objectives by promoting the value of
Successful Scotland: The        on priorities for strengthening communities, developing skills, growing   the areas woodland and forestry resources
Highlands and Islands           businesses and making global connections. Sets out the principles of      for strengthening communities, developing
Dimension                       implementation. Notes the importance of managing and enhancing the        skills and attracting people and businesses to
                                areas outstanding natural heritage assets.                                the area.

SEPA (2004) Consultation on     Presents a consultation on the development of a river basin               The FDSP should seek to outline how
the Scottish River Basin        management (RBM) plan for Scotland that will cover: assessing the         forestry should be involved in the RBM
Management Planning             state of the water environment; monitoring change; and taking action      planning process and its implementation.
Strategy                        to protect and improve it. Outlines why a plan is needed and the          Could also outline opportunities for better co-
                                legislative context of the Water Framework Directive, including the       operation and co-ordination between forestry
                                implementation timetable.                                                 and other land use interests.

                                                                                                          FDSP will also be required to ensure the
                                                                                                          appropriate siting and design of new forestry
                                                                                                          in accordance with the water quality and river
                                                                                                          engineering requirements of the Water
                                                                                                          Framework Directive, which is to be
                                                                                                          implemented through River Basin Planning.

Aberdeen and Grampian           Sets out an action plan for attracting more tourists to the Aberdeen      The FDSP should recognise the importance
Tourism Strategy                and Grampian area, targeting the business conference market and           of the natural environment in attracting
                                those seeking high quality short ‘rural-escape’ breaks. Identifies the    tourists to the area and seek to identify how
                                areas competitive gain provided by its high quality natural environment   the forest resource can contribute more to
                                and National Park status.                                                 tourism.

Moray Local Transport           Sets out aims, objectives and targets for transport in Moray up until     The FDSP should support the transport


                                                                              33
Name of plan / programme     Title of legislation and main requirements of plan / programme /          How it affects, or is affected by the FDSP
/ objective                  objective                                                                 in terms of SEA issues at Schedule 2,
                                                                                                       para 6(a) of the Regulations.

Strategy 2001                2004. The main objective of the strategy is to balance the need for       strategy and should recognise priorities for
                             making transport more sustainable within Moray with the need to           the transport and extraction of timber.
                             improve transport links both within Moray and to other areas of the
                             United Kingdom in order to support continued economic development.

                             Moray Council is currently undertaking the first stage of preparing the
                             2nd Moray Local Transport Strategy.
North East Area Waste Plan   Sets out a long-term integrated plan for the best practicable             The FDSP should reflect these priorities and
                             environmental management of waste in the three local authority areas      could seek to identify ways to produce less
                             of Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City. The key aims of this           waste, reuse and recycle waste generated
                             plan are to develop waste management systems that will control waste      from forestry and its associated industries.
                             generation, to reduce the environmental impacts of waste production,
                             to improve resource efficiency and to maximise the economic
                             opportunities arising from waste.




                                                                          34
Figure 2: Location Map




                         35
3.     ENVIRONMENTAL BASELINE AND
       IDENTIFICATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL
       PROBLEMS

3.1.   Schedule 2 of the Regulations requires that the Environmental Report includes
       a description of ‘the relevant aspects of the current state of the environment
       and the likely evolution thereof without implementation of the plan or
       programme’, and ‘the environmental characteristics of areas likely to be
       significantly affected’. This section aims to describe the environmental context
       within which the PPS operates and the constraints and targets that this context
       imposes on the PPS.
3.2.   The Environmental Baseline draws on relevant information from the Forest
       District Strategic Plan and additional data and analysis completed during the
       SEA process.

       ENVIRONMENTAL BASELINE
       NB: Any reference to ‘Forest District’ or ‘District’ denotes all land, private, public and non-
       forestry falling within the administrative boundaries of the FCS Forest District. These terms are
       also used to describe the corporate body of Moray Forest District.
       ‘National Forest Estate’ or ‘Forest Estate’ are used to denote land directly owned and
       managed by FES.



       Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna
       Context
3.3.   Moray Forest District is a landscape of contrasts. The intensively farmed and
       settled coastal plain stands in opposition to the moors and hills of the rolling
       uplands which merge into the foothills of the Cairngorms and Grampian
       Mountains. Although Moray is a relatively ‘domesticated’ landscape with a
       number of large settlements, the overall impression of the District is still
       predominantly rural. Within the agricultural landscape and beyond there is
       considerable biodiversity potential.

       Current Situation
3.4.   The contrast in the types of environment within Moray Forest District, and the
       high proportion of native tree species in the commercial woodlands, ensures
       that considerable biodiversity persists.
3.5.   The coastal zone features extensive dune systems, especially around Culbin,
       where a considerable area is planted with Scots Pine. Many of these forests
       are long-established and are taking on the characteristics of semi-natural
       woodland, including communities of lichens, flowering plants and fungi.
3.6.   The intertidal flats, saltmarsh and dunes of Findhorn Bay and the Culbin bar
       are vital habitat for communities of waders and sea ducks, as well as attracting
       large numbers of migrant species. The lower reaches of the Spey and its

                                                  36
       associated woodlands support a range of species, including nesting ospreys
       and other wetland birds. In addition, the Moray Firth itself is an internationally
       designated (SAC) area for its biodiversity, most notably its sandbanks and
       population of bottlenose dolphins.
3.7.   The Loch of Spynie, although extensively drained in preceding centuries, is
       one of the few large and naturally eutrophic water bodies in the northeast of
       Scotland. Its habitats range from open water to extensive reedbeds,
       mesotrophic fen and willow/swamp alder scrub. It is also of European
       importance as a roost for Icelandic greylag geese, as well as offering refuge to
       rare reed buntings, water rails and several dragonfly species.
3.8.   The upland forests of the area support the full gamut of iconic Highland
       species. The red squirrel is common in the District, as is its principal predator
       the pine marten. Capercaillie, ospreys, crossbills and crested tits nest in
       comparatively high densities – due largely to the abundance of mature Scots
       pine.
3.9.   There are large tracts of upland moor in the District which are often
       overgrazed and impoverished. However, riparian woodlands are oases for a
       range of species including insects, wild cat and numerous birds. Much of the
       moorland is managed for red deer and grouse shooting. However, the red
       grouse population is in serious decline across Scotland, due in part to poor
       early summer weather resulting in chick deaths. As well as being of economic
       importance, these birds are an important food source for most of the larger
       raptor species, including the golden eagle, peregrine falcon and hen harrier.
       Continued, illegal, persecution of these species is a potential problem
       wherever grouse shooting occurs.
3.10. The large river systems of the District also provide important habitats for a
      range of rare species, including river lamprey, otters and freshwater pearl
      mussels, for which the Spey and Findhorn are internationally designated.
      Much of the course of the Findhorn, especially around Altyre and Darnaway, is
      bordered by dense riparian woodland, while more intensive management of
      the banks of the Spey have denuded it of most of its natural woodland.

       Designations
3.11. Viewed in the national context, very little of the area of Moray Forest District is
      nationally or internationally designated. However, this belies the significance
      that habitats within the Forest Estate have at the regional level. The areas of
      designated land are presented in Table 4.
       Table 4: Designated land in Moray District
        Designation                                 Total Area in    Area on FE land
                                                    District (ha.)   (ha.)
        National Scenic Area                        10813.48         0.00
        Special Area of Conservation                15208.01         444.21
        Special Protection Area                     10644.58         344.43
        Ramsar (wetlands)                           979.44           344.43
        National Nature Reserve                     2110.02          0.00
        Site of Special Scientific Interest         18802.27         3298.84


                                              37
       Ancient Woodland                             25729.67        10926.32
       Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes     2720.16         391.83


3.12. The Forest Estate contains 42.5% of the District’s Ancient woodland (some
      3.1% of the national total) in addition to 35.2% of the Ramsar areas, principally
      in Culbin Forest and the lower reaches of the Spey. Furthermore, an additional
      17.5% of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and 14.4% of designated Historic
      Gardens and Designed landscapes in the District are on the Forest Estate.
      FCS therefore plays a central role in managing the natural heritage of Moray,
      as so many of the important species depend on woodland for their survival.

      Key Species
3.13. As outlined above, Moray is an important stronghold for a number of
      threatened species, many of which are identified in the Moray BAP as
      indicated in Table 5 below.
      Table 5: Priority Species

       Priority Species (identified in            Main Habitat Grouping
       BAP)
       Mammals

       water vole                                 Wetland and Freshwater
       brown hare                                 Farmland and Grassland
       European otter                             Wetland and Freshwater
       harbour porpoise                           Coastal and Marine
       pipistrelle bat                            Woodland
       red squirrel                               Woodland
       bottlenose dolphin                         Coastal and Marine
       Birds

       skylark                                    Farmland and Grassland
       linnet                                     Farmland and Grassland
       reed bunting                               Wetland and Freshwater, Montane,
                                                  Heath and Bog
       Scottish crossbill                         Woodland
       common scoter                              Coastal and Marine
       corn bunting                               Farmland and Grassland
       spotted flycatcher                         Woodland
       tree sparrow                               Woodland
       grey partridge                             Farmland and Grassland
       bullfinch                                  Woodland
       black grouse                               Montane, Heath and Bog
       capercaillie                               Woodland
       song thrush                                Woodland
       Amphibians

       great crested newt                         Wetland and Freshwater
       Invertebrates

       Aspen hoverfly                             Woodland
       Blera fallax (a hoverfly)
       Metasyrphus lapponicus (A hoverfly)
       Lipsothrix ecucullata (a cranefly)


                                             38
Priority Species (identified in              Main Habitat Grouping
BAP)
Rhabdomastix hilaris (a cranefly)
Thereva lunulata (a stiletto fly)
dark bordered beauty (moth)
narrow-bordered bee hawk (moth)              Farmland and Grassland
lunar yellow underwing (moth)                Coastal and Marine
cousin German (moth)
netted mountain (moth)                       Montane, Heath and Bog
northern dart (moth)                         Montane, Heath and Bog
sword grass (moth)
Brachyptera putata (a stonefly)              Wetland and Freshwater
freshwater pearl mussel                      Wetland and Freshwater
fan mussel                                   Coastal and Marine
horse mussel                                 Coastal and Marine
Fungi

14 species of hydnelloid fungi               Woodland
Lichens

alpine sulphur-tresses                       Montane, Heath and Bog
Bacidia incompta                             Woodland
Bellemerea alpina                            Montane, Heath and Bog
orange-fruited elm-lichen                    Woodland
stump lichen                                 Woodland
Elm's gyalecta                               Woodland
Hypogymnia intestiniformis                   Montane, Heath and Bog
Opegrapha paraxanthodes
Liverworts

stabler's rustwort                           Montane, Heath and Bog
Mosses

green shield moss
slender green feather-moss
icy rock moss                                Montane, Heath and Bog
matted bryum                                 Coastal and Marine
cernuous bryum
sea bryum                                    Coastal and Marine
blunt-leaved bristle-moss                    Woodland
Orthotrichum pallens
Vascular plants

Newman's lady-fern                           Montane, Heath and Bog
mountain scurvy-grass                        Montane, Heath and Bog
Scottish scurvy-grass                        Coastal and Marine
Euphrasia rotundifolia (an eyebright)        Coastal and Marine
juniper                                      Montane, Heath and Bog, Coastal
                                             and Marine
twinflower                                   Woodland
floating water plantain                      Wetland and Freshwater
marsh clubmoss                               Coastal and Marine
small cow-wheat                              Freshwater and Wetland, Woodland
pillwort                                     Wetland and Freshwater
grass-wrack pondweed                         Wetland and Freshwater
woolly willow                                Montane, Heath and Bog
yellow marsh saxifrage                       Wetland and Freshwater
shepherd's needle                            Farmland and grassland


                                        39
          Priority Species (identified in         Main Habitat Grouping
          BAP)
          small-flowered catchfly                 Farmland and grassland
          Killarney fern


3.14. In addition to these species, a number of others have been identified as
      species of UK and local conservation concern, including the golden eagle,
      Daubenton’s bat, lampreys, arctic charr, butterflies and numerous vascular
      plants and lichens.

      Key Habitats


      Table 6: Priority Habitats
      Habitat (identified in BAP)                 Examples
      Coastal sand dunes and shingle              Culbin
      Estuarine and intertidal habitats           Spey Bay, Moray Firth
      Species-rich grassland
      Wood pasture                                Darnaway Castle, River Findhorn
      Broadleaved woodland
      Wet and riparian woodland                   River Findhorn valley
      Native pine woodland                        Badenoch and Strathspey
      Lowland raised bog
      Blanket bog
      Various wetlands
      Mesotrophic open waters


3.15. Conservation is implemented using a range of plans for designated sites and
      by following good conservation and silviculture in the forest in general. Plans
      include SSSI management plans, Habitat Action Plans (HAP’s – habitats
      identified are presented in Table 6), Species Action Plans (SAP’s) and Local
      Biodiversity Action Plans. Conservation management often involves
      partnership working with other agencies and owners. The main conservation
      issues that influence forest management and planning include:

      •     Designated sites: Protection and enhancement of conservation value.

      •     Locally important sites: Identifying areas of forest of high conservation
            value and instituting proper management.

      •     Ancient Woodlands: restoration and management of ancient (native)
            woodland.

      •     Priority Species: specific measures to protect and enhance their sites and
            habitats.




                                             40
      Population and Human Health
      Current Situation
3.16. The population of Moray is concentrated principally in the larger towns of the
      coastal region. Settlement size and population density decreases from north to
      south as the terrain becomes hillier and less cultivable. The main settlements
      in the area are Elgin, Forres, Buckie and Keith, with a network of secondary
      towns and villages, such as Charlestown of Aberlour, Lossiemouth, Kinloss
      and Fochabers strategically positioned in the valleys or on the coast. A further
      tier of small villages are spread throughout the district along routes of
      communication, generally decreasing in frequency as elevation increases. The
      economy of Moray, which once focussed heavily on agriculture, fishing and
      boat-building is now subject to far wider influences. A great deal of
      employment was created during the Cold War by the RAF bases at
      Lossiemouth and Kinloss, although in recent years these facilities have been
      scaled back. The offshore oil and gas industries have also been an important
      factor, drawing in mainly male workers from a wide radius. However, this
      aspect of the economy faces an uncertain future as reserves are gradually
      depleted and the climate change agenda forces a reappraisal of the UK’s
      energy future. The fishing industry in the District is no longer a significant
      factor in the economy, although this area has not been as badly hit as other
      areas in the northeast.
3.17. Highlands and Islands Enterprise have noted that ‘wages and output are well
      below the Scottish average’ and that ‘young people are leaving the area in
      increasing numbers’ reflecting the lack of prospects beyond a limited range of
      economic sectors.
3.18. Agriculture is still locally important, although it employs far fewer individuals
      than previously, and many seasonal and unskilled vacancies are filled by
      migrant workers. Traditionally, unemployment in Moray has been very low and,
      in common with the current trend of migration, this is expected to continue.
      Moray is still an important arable production centre, much of the barley
      produced being consumed by the Scotch whisky industry. Distilling has long
      been a central part of the economies of Moray and Speyside, and the markets
      for the product continue to grow, although employment in the sector remains
      stable rather than growing.
3.19. Social deprivation is not a major feature of the area, although there are
      concentrations in and around the urban areas and in outlying villages with high
      concentrations of social housing, such as Lhanbryde.
3.20. In the more rural parts of the District, forestry forms a significant part of the
      economy (as demonstrated in Table 7). Although there are only two sawmills
      of any significant size in Moray itself, much of the timber produced in the
      District is processed relatively locally in Aberdeenshire or Highland. These
      facilities employ a further 97 people who are resident in Moray.




                                           41
      Table 7: Employment in the Forestry Sector in Moray
          Sector                          Employment generated      Income (£m)
                                          (Full Time Equivalents)
          Timber and related activities   397                       24.1
          Forest related tourism          64                        2.25
          Other products (mainly fungi)   7 (direct)                Not estimated
          Total                           468                       26.3



      Soil
      Context
3.21. The geology of the area takes the form of four distinct bands running
      approximately southwest to northeast. On the coast, raised beaches provide
      important geological evidence of falling sea levels since the last ice age, as
      water has been tied up in ice as the temperature stabilised from its maximum
      around 4500 years ago. Also, Scotland is rising very slowly as the landmass
      continues to recover from the deformation caused by the titanic weight of the
      ice sheets which covered the country during the last glaciation. Isostatic
      rebound is therefore a contributory factor in raised beach formation.
3.22. Slightly inland, the geology is dominated by Devonian red sandstones which
      gradually give way to metamorphic schists and gneisses, with some
      spectacular granite intrusions, most notably Ben Rinnes. A band of further
      metamorphic rocks – including the Portsoy marble group – runs through the
      District.
3.23. The glacial history of the region has a greater role in soil formation than the
      underlying solid geology. Much of the southern part of the area is covered in
      till deposits, while sands and gravels predominate in the northern portion of
      the District. In coastal areas, wind-blown dune sand and raised beach deposits
      result in markedly different characteristics from the rest of the area. The
      coastal belt is mainly composed of very fertile brown earths, with humic and
      peaty podzols dominant in upland areas.

      Current Situation
3.24. Soils influence forest management and planning in the following ways:

      •     Protection of soils: Forest practices are carefully planned to minimise
            damage to soils, e.g. by erosion or compaction (e.g. Forest Soil
            Conservation Guidelines)

      •     Silviculture: Soil type determines which tree species grow best, which
            cultivation techniques are appropriate and what fertilisers are required.
            They are also an important factor in determining wind damage to
            plantations (trees uproot more easily on wet soils).

      •     Harvesting: Soil type influences the choice of harvesting machinery and
            timing of operations.




                                               42
      Water
      Context
3.25. A number of major river systems flow through the Moray Forest District in
      addition to the catchments in the region. Most notable among these are the
      Spey, which rises on the borders of Lochaber over 70km outside the District,
      and the lower reaches of the Findhorn. The Lossie is the main catchment in
      the central area of the District, draining the area around Elgin and its
      hinterland. The Avon, Livet and Fiddich, all tributaries of the Spey, drain the
      high ground in the south of the District and lend their names to famous malt
      whiskies.
3.26. The lower reaches of the Spey around Garmouth and Kingstown at Spey Bay
      are extremely dynamic and flood events frequently, and occasionally
      catastrophically, rework the alluvial deposits of a sizeable wetland area where
      the river meets the Moray Firth. Historically, the entire village of Kingstown has
      been relocated at least once to escape from inundation.

      Current Situation
3.27. The long history of improved, intensive agriculture has resulted in a severely
      compromised small-scale drainage network. The Loch of Spynie, once a
      sizeable inland sea loch, was drained during the 18th and 19th centuries to
      facilitate the expansion of agriculture. This has somewhat limited the ability of
      the Lossie to deal with extreme rainfall events or spring snowmelt, resulting in
      relatively frequent flooding. Several flood prevention schemes have already
      been completed, for instance for Forres and Lhanbryde with schemes in
      planning for Elgin and Rothes. Flooding, and flood prevention/attenuation
      measures, is now a major political issue in the area.
3.28. Recreational fishing and the whisky industry – both key aspects of Moray’s
      economy – depend entirely on high water quality. Similarly, there are a
      number of private water sources in the area and public reservoirs in afforested
      catchments. There is some level of forestry in most of the major catchments in
      the District, and therefore it is imperative to ensure that forest operations do
      not adversely affect water quality.

      Air
      Current Situation
3.29. The generally rural character of the Forest District means that air quality is, on
      the whole, good, even around the relatively small urban areas. Around Elgin,
      Forres and the urbanised Moray Firth coast, there is a notable increase in
      pollutant concentration.
3.30. The principal source of atmospheric emissions in the District is road traffic,
      resulting in slightly elevated levels of sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide
      around major transport nodes. It is unlikely that this situation will change
      radically, although a mean rise in ozone (O3) has been noted in rural areas
      throughout Scotland, perhaps a consequence of warmer summer weather.


                                           43
      However, it is worth noting that the data may be flawed due to the relatively
      small number of monitoring sites throughout Scotland.
3.31. The only types of development likely to affect air quality significantly would be
      energy-from-waste and/or biomass projects, although these are required to
      conform to stringent environmental standards.

      Climatic Factors
      Current Situation
3.32. The climate of Moray Forest District varies largely in line with topography, the
      coastal area being generally drier and milder than the upland zone. Winter
      snowfall and high winds are also generally more prevalent in the upland areas.
      Table 8: Moray climate
       Zone          Mean July     Accumulated             Annual     Moisture deficit
                     Maximum       temperature             Rainfall   (mm)
                     ( oC)         day oC                  (mm)
       Coastal       23            > 1375 in coastal and   600        > 101mm
                                   low lying areas                    running east
                                   Inland:1237 - 1375                 from Burghead.
                                                                      Inland and west:
                                                                      81 - 100 mm.
       Western                     1300 in sheltered                  Moving south
       Uplands                     glens to < 900 in                  the deficit falls
                                   upland massif.                     to 61-80 mm.
       North                       Hill and plateau <                 Averaging 81-
       Eastern                     1000. 1100-1237 in                 100.
       Uplands                     low-lying glens.

       South         18            Upland 500-675.         1000       Averaging 61 -
       Eastern                     Lower areas: 875-                  80
       Uplands                     1100.


3.33. There is considerable local variation in climate, with knock-on effects for
      forestry. Although there is a longer growing and planting season in coastal
      areas, spring droughts can be a problem. Similarly, winter weather in the
      uplands has a more severe effect on harvesting and haulage than equivalent
      conditions in the coastal zone.
3.34. Climate change is likely to have a more severe effect on the coastal zone, as
      predicted sea level rises and increased severe weather take their toll. River
      hydrology has become noticeably more volatile in recent years and is likely to
      worsen. The role of forestry in catchment management is not yet fully
      understood, but it is likely that it will have a positive role to play in flood
      attenuation measures.

      Cultural Heritage
      Context
3.35. The relatively benign climate and fertility of Moray has long made the District
      an attractive area for settlement. There is evidence of Mesolithic hunter-

                                           44
      gatherer occupation at Culbin Sands near Forres, now adjacent to one of the
      largest forests in the area. Although scant remains of Neolithic occupation
      exist in the District, there is a rich ritual and funerary record with monuments
      ranging from chambered cairns and stone circles to henges and barrows.
      There are large numbers of Bronze Age hut-circles surviving in upland areas.
      As Moray has been intensively farmed for a considerable period, the majority
      of the archaeological features have been reduced to cropmarks – features cut
      in the subsoil which result in differential growth of cereal crops – and are only
      visible from aerial photography. The area has a particularly rich record of Iron
      Age settlement discovered in this way.
3.36. The early historic period is particularly significant in Moray. As well as an
      impressive distribution of Pictish symbol stones, Moray is also home to one of
      the principal fortifications of the Pictish kingdom at Burghead on the Moray
      Firth coast. There are a number of significant ecclesiastical sites in the area,
      notably Birnie Kirk, Kineddar, Elgin Cathedral and Kinloss and Pluscarden
      Abbeys. The 12th century Birnie Kirk is still in use, as is the restored 13th
      century Pluscarden Abbey, which is home to a community of Benedictine
      monks.
3.37. The turbulent medieval history of Moray is reflected in the relatively dense
      distribution of motte-and-bailey castles at sites such as Duffus. Following
      rebellions against the Crown in the 1100’s, Norman nobles were ‘planted’ in
      troublesome areas of the country by David I to keep the peace in return for
      grants of land. The area was equally troublesome to the early Stewart
      monarchs as Robert II’s own son, Alexander Stewart, the ‘Wolf of Badenoch,’
      repeatedly defied his father and the Bishop of Moray for his own ends, burning
      Forres, sacking Elgin and burning its cathedral in the process.
3.38. The feudal estates established throughout the middle ages continued to be
      important in more recent history, changing the face of Moray through
      extensive agricultural improvements in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Estates
      such as those of the Earl of Moray, Lord Seafield and the Duke of Richmond
      and Gordon are still important employers and landowners today.
3.39. Timber has long been an important resource in Moray, as the shipbuilding
      industry at Garmouth relied on timber floated down the Spey from the uplands,
      and the large estates all had their own sawmills, with industrial sawmills
      located at Rothes and Forres. Moray also played an important role in
      developing the national strategic timber resource following the establishment
      of the Forestry Commission after WWI.

      Current situation
3.40. The Forest Estate accounts for 11% (10) of the land area of the Forest District.
      The whole of the Forest Estate in Moray Forest District is covered by the HLA.
3.41. On the basis of this data, the following observations can be made:

      •     Around 2.3% of Forest Estate land comprises Relict Landscapes
            (average 1.52%)


                                          45
         •      Current land use – 38% of the district is moorland and rough grazing
                and 28% comprises woodland and forestry. 11% of the moorland area is
                actively managed for grazing and field sports. A further 30% of the district
                is composed of enclosed agricultural land. These figures compare with
                2.6% of the FES land comprising moorland and rough grazing and some
                96% being woodland and forestry, with little or no fields and farming.

         •      Period – around 23% of land in the District dates from the 18th and 19th
                centuries and principally relates to the enclosure of land for improved
                agriculture. 22% dates to the 20th century and is largely accounted for by
                coniferous forestry plantations and further intensification of agriculture –
                illustrated by the pattern of field amalgamation and taking former
                moorland and policies into cultivation. The large RAF bases at
                Lossiemouth and Kinloss – in addition to the radar station at Milltown –
                are a significant 20th century land use.
                Management of moorland for grazing and field sports, through drainage
                and heather burning, can be dated from the late 20th century to the
                present day and accounts for around 16% of land in the District

         •      Relict land use - Around 2.3% of Forest Estate land contains evidence
                of Relict Landscapes (national average 1.52%). In lowland areas
                dominated by arable agriculture, archaeological landscapes generally
                survive as cropmarks1, as the remains of sites and monuments have
                been ploughed down over preceding centuries. These features, ranging
                from Iron Age settlements to medieval field systems, account for 11% of
                the relict landscapes of the District.
                20th century defence establishments are an important relict land use, with
                former airfields at Dallachy, Pittendreich and Milltown (now a radar
                station). These air stations – along with Lossiemouth and Kinloss –
                played a central role in naval engagements in the North Sea, including
                the sinking of the Tirpitz.

                In the upland portion of the District, and in more marginal areas, relict
                landscapes are more numerous. Large areas of former smallholdings
                originally associated with 18th and 19th century planned villages such as
                Keith, Dufftown, Aberlour and Buckie, occur on lower quality land on the
                fringes of large estates. Many of these areas have been taken into more
                intensive cultivation as machinery has improved and smallholdings2
                diminished in economic importance during the 20th century. The hillsides
                and straths also hold the remains of prehistoric and medieval / post-
                medieval settlements and associated field systems.




1
  Cropmarks occur when the remains of a site or monument are reduced to subsoil features through
agricultural attrition. The resulting patterns of differential growth in cereal crops are then visible only through
aerial reconnaissance.
2
  Although Moray is not traditionally, or legally, one of the ‘Crofting Counties,’ amendments to crofting
legislation proposed in 2007 may extend crofting law to Moray and encourage the establishment of new crofts
in the area.


                                                         46
      •     Forest estate has around 3.4% (2.4) of the RCAHMS sites in the District.
            There are only around 220 sites within the Forest Estate (average of 432)
            and 6563 in the District as a whole (average of 17,600)
      Designations
3.42. There are two scheduled ancient monuments with the Forest Estate:

      •   Quarrywood, henge

      •   Meikle Dramlach, bridge
      Both of which are managed in accordance with management plans agreed
      with Historic Scotland.

      Landscape
      Context
3.43. The landscape of Moray Forest District is relatively easily classified. Broadly,
      the District can be divided into a coastal and an upland zone. The topography
      rises fairly gently from north to south, beginning on the Moray Firth coast and
      ending in the foothills of the Grampian Mountains. For the purposed of forest
      planning, these zones can be sub-divided thus:

      •   Coastal zone
          o Flat coastal plain forests form a linear backdrop to mainly Agricultural
            Ground. Coastal forests frame impressive seascapes.

      •   Western Uplands zone
          o Rolling foothills rising from coastal plain to flat plateaus and hills at
            approximately 500m OD. The major river valleys of the Spey and
            Findhorn are a distinctive landscape feature and extend well into the
            upland areas.
          o Large conifer forests over hillsides and plateaux. Smaller scale and
            much less extensive fragmented woodlands and farmland in valley
            bottoms. Cereal farming on coast gives way to dairy. Some sharp hill
            /valley boundaries with agricultural land.
          o Large areas of privately owned commercial plantation led to concerns
            in the ‘90s over loss of moorland to forestry. Well established forest
            estates of Altyre and Darnaway.
          o Apart from the Findhorn catchment, forests are under represented on
            lower slopes and straths, particularly lacking continuous floodplain
            woodlands.




                                           47
       •   North Eastern Uplands zone
           o Rolling hills rise to around 600m dominated by pine. These uplands
             form a backdrop which can be viewed as a whole from the Coastal
             Zone.
           o Complete forest coverage of topography gives natural appearance.
             Moving east the forests sit on hill tops with proportionally less forest at
             other altitudes with scope for better visual integration of land uses.

       •   South Eastern Uplands zone
           o Upland – dominated by high moorland, punctuated with few fertile
             straths, especially Glen Rinnes. Some existing forests have expanded
             too far onto poorer site types. Forests (particularly Morinsh) are highly
             visible from much walked Ben Rinnes.

       Current Situation
3.44. The landscape of Moray, while perhaps less rugged and stereotypically
      Highland than that of other Forest Districts, is no less significant. It is still one
      of the area’s greatest assets, with considerable revenues generated from
      upland field sports and recreational fishing. The coastline in particular is of
      high value, especially around Findhorn Bay, Burghead, Spey Bay and Culbin
      Sands. The setting of many historic buildings and monuments depend on their
      landscape setting for impact, none more so that the many whisky distilleries
      that contribute much to the local economy through tourist revenues.
3.45. The highly modified and managed landscapes of the District are testament to
      the significance of Moray as one of the centres of agricultural production in
      Scotland, and have value in themselves.
3.46. Forestry must continue to play a central role in the landscape of Moray, both
      from an economic and rural stewardship perspective. There is scope for
      improvement of some plantings established under different national priorities,
      but many of the forests already make a substantial contribution to
      environmental quality and biodiversity value.

       Designations
3.47. There are no National Scenic Area designations within the District, although
      the boundary of the Cairngorms National Scenic Area falls just to the south of
      the District.
3.48. There are, however, a number of locally designated Areas of Great
      Landscape Value, identified in the Moray Local Plan 2000.

       •    The straths of the Rivers Avon, Spey, Fiddich, Findhorn, Pluscarden and
            the upper Lossie

       •    Stretches of coast from Culbin to Lossiemouth and Portessie to Cullen




                                            48
      ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
3.49. This section of the Environmental Report provides a summary of the key
      environmental problems relating to forestry and woodland in the Forest
      District.
3.50. Key issues identified at a national level include:

       •   The forestry sector already has a range of policies and programmes which
           set out an agenda for sustainable forestry management. Together these
           policies aim to maximise the benefits which woodlands provide, partly
           through additional planting, but also by achieving sustainable management
           practices.

       •   Sustainable development underpins most national level policies across the
           full range of policy sectors, with an emphasis not only on environmental
           objectives, but also economic growth, and environmental justice.

       •   There are numerous environmentally focused plans and programmes
           which provide both a statutory requirement and non statutory guidance of
           relevance to the forestry sector in Scotland. This includes the need to
           protect sites which have been designated under national and international
           legislation, and the importance of recognising and supporting the Scottish
           Biodiversity Strategy.

       •   Contextual analysis shows that there remain policy concerns that some
           environmental resources are continuing to be degraded, including water,
           soil and some habitats. This is illustrated by a lack of progress towards
           meeting some of the key national indicators for sustainable development.
           This also suggests that a more proactive approach to environmental
           protection and enhancement is required across all land uses, including
           forestry.

       •   Biodiversity policies also emphasise the importance of not only protecting
           and enhancing key habitats but also raising awareness of them and
           seeking to create more complete forest habitat networks.

       •   Rural development is a key policy priority in Scotland, with diversification,
           and economic development (including through tourism) being important
           aims which sit alongside environmental protection and community
           development.

       •   Forestry should be considered within the wider context of rural land use
           and decision making. Woodlands can contribute to, and be supported by
           farming practice, and deer management also provides a related policy
           challenge.

       •   Sustainable transportation is a key national policy aim, to which the
           forestry sector has the potential to contribute.




                                            49
      •   There is a need for the forestry sector to recognise its role as a steward of
          the historic environment, and to reflect on the cultural heritage significance
          of trees and woodlands in their own right.

      •   Climate change mitigation and adaptation provides both a challenge and
          an opportunity for the forestry sector. There is a need to ensure that the
          sector contributes as far as possible towards mitigation targets, through
          both short and long term projects which aim to reduce carbon emissions.
          This reflects the importance of balancing different mitigation strategies –
          for example long term carbon fixing compared to relatively short term high
          gain projects such as renewable energy schemes. Indeed, climate change
          policy in Scotland provides a major challenge for most other policy
          commitments, including forestry.
3.51. Key issues identified at a district level, under the SFS’s seven key themes are
      summarised below. This analysis provided a starting point for the preparation
      of Forest District Strategic Plan policies.
3.52. Key issues were identified as follows:

      •   Adopting more sustainable management practices to ensure that the
          environmental performance of the Forest District improves

      •   Adapting to climate change through the selection of trees of appropriate
          species and provenance for restocking the District’s forests

      •   Restructuring the forest resource to account for climate change impacts
          through limited felling and moorland restoration in exposed areas

      •   Adapting to climate change through the expansion of the role of riparian
          woodland in flood and catchment management

      •   Maintaining and perhaps expanding the coastal defence role of some of
          Moray’s forests

      •   Mitigating climate change by increasing the Forest Estate’s contribution to
          Scotland’s renewable energy resources

      •   Mitigating climate change by expanding the role of continuous cover
          forestry in promoting carbon sequestration

      •   Promoting predictable, stable and high quality timber supplies through
          improved production forecasting and the adoption of lower impact
          silvicultural systems

      •   Improving the efficiency of the timber supply chain by selling as much
          timber as possible locally to reduce transport distances and ‘timber miles’
          and promoting local woodfuel markets

      •   Developing the hardwood component of the Forest Estate – although there
          is limited capacity in lowland areas due to the high agricultural potential of
          Moray


                                           50
•   Utilising portfolio analysis to ensure that the Forest Estate continues to
    evolve to meet current and future needs

•   Realising the economic potential of the Forest Estate through
    diversification initiatives

•   Contributing to rural development by supporting local businesses, creating
    opportunities for recreation and tourism and promoting use of local timber

•   Improving the quality of leisure and recreation provision in order to
    contribute to the tourist industry

•   Improving the training of Forest District staff and contractors to create a
    flexible, highly skilled workforce

•   Contributing to quality of life through the creation of high quality forest
    environments and opportunities for leisure and recreation

•   Promoting the educational potential of the forest resource through liaison
    with schools, local interest groups and cultural events

•   Enhancing community engagement through improved consultation with
    local residents, agencies and interest groups

•   Encouraging community ownership and management of Forest Estate land
    for environmental improvement, social inclusion, diversification or
    affordable housing purposes

•   Improving access to forests for all sectors of society

•   Improving the quality of recreation provision

•   Protecting the water and soil environments and making a positive
    contribution to air quality

•   Contributing to Scotland’s landscapes through improving forest design,
    especially around Moray’s Areas of Great Landscape Value

•   Managing the historic environment to protect and enhance sites and
    monuments for current and future generations

•   Arrest decline in biodiversity through appropriate management of
    designated sites and working to aid regeneration of priority habitats and
    species

•   Improving awareness of biodiversity and incorporating its consideration into
    every stage of planning and executing forest operations




                                      51
       LIKELY EVOLUTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT THE
       MORAY FOREST DISTRICT STRATEGIC PLAN
3.53. The 2007 Moray Forest District Strategic Plan replaces the previous version
      which was published in 2001, and which included a wide range of local
      policies set against the national priorities set by the previous version of the
      Scottish Forestry Strategy (published in 2000).
3.54. In the absence of the 2007 Strategic Plan, it is very likely that the existing
      plan’s policy priorities would have continued to apply. These included:
       •   Support and encourage the forest related economy of the area.
       •   Improve transport links.
       •   Demonstrate the ecological and farming benefits of greater integration of
           farm and forest land.
       •   Conserve and enhance important habitats and species.
       •   Enhance landscape character.
       •   Improve water quality through enhancement and expansion of riparian
           woodland.
       •   Enhance/ increase the proportion of native tree species in Morays forests.
       •   Promote new woodland and associated recreational facilities around the
           urban settlements.
       •   Improve the quality and quantity of forest facilities available to the tourism
           sector.
       •   Promote community involvement in forest planning and management.
       •   Integrate alternative land uses.
3.55. A review of the policies suggests that the 2001 plan covers many of the policy
      themes of its 2007 replacement. This is particularly true in relation to the
      environmental policies. In some operational areas it goes into greater detail.
3.56. The 2007 plan, however, has fuller coverage of a number of key policy themes
      which were developed in the 2006 Scottish Forestry Strategy, particularly in
      relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation, securing significantly
      improved access, interpretation and education benefits, particularly close to
      where people live, providing a wider range of economic benefits and
      contributing to rural diversification, and reviewing the Forest Estate portfolio to
      ensure it meets national and strategic policy objectives. A number of these
      emphases relate directly to the environment and it is concluded that the new
      generation of Forest District Strategic Plans, will be capable of delivering a
      wider range of benefits, and securing a higher level of environmental
      conservation than their predecessors. An additional benefit is that close
      alignment to the national priorities (as identified in the SFS) means that there
      is a greater degree of consistency between Forest District plan policies.




                                              52
4.     SEA OBJECTIVES

4.1.   The SEA objectives form the basis on which the environmental effects of the
       Plan are predicted and on which the comparison of key alternatives to the Plan
       are compared. The definition of the objectives requires to be informed by the
       need to cover the range of issues outlined in Schedule 2 of the Regulations,
       and by the key environmental characteristics, trends, and issues across Forest
       Districts in Scotland.
4.2.   A deliberate decision was made to employ the same set of SEA objectives as
       had been used for the SEA of the Scottish Forestry Strategy. In part this is a
       recognition that the process by which they were identified was designed to
       reflect key issues relating to forestry. It would also allow the district
       assessment to be compared with the results of the national assessment. The
       objectives had also been endorsed by the Consultation Authorities. Following
       the scoping stage, a small number of changes to the SEA objectives were
       made, principally to elaborate and separate the objectives relating to the
       historic environment.
       Table 9: SEA objectives
                  SEA Objectives
                  Biodiversity, flora and fauna
        B1        To help implement the objectives of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy
                  (see SEA objectives B2 to B6 below)
        B2        To halt the loss of biodiversity and continue to reverse previous losses
                  through targeted action for species and habitats
        B3        To increase awareness, understanding and enjoyment of biodiversity
                  and engage many more people in conservation and enhancement.
        B4        To restore and enhance biodiversity in all our urban and rural
                  environments through better planning, design and practice.
        B5        To develop an effective management framework that ensures that
                  biodiversity is taken into account in all decision-making
        B6        To ensure that the best new and existing knowledge on biodiversity is
                  available to all policy makers and practitioners.
        B7        To secure sustainable deer management based on good information
                  about deer numbers and impacts and implemented through local Deer
                  Management Plans
                  Population and human health
        P1        To increase the opportunities for access to and enjoyment of forests and
                  woodlands by all sectors of society, including those who live in towns
                  and cities, and in lowland areas
        P2        To ensure that sustainable tourism and recreation are promoted through
                  the forestry sector
        P3        To maximise the role of woodland and forestry in contributing to quality
                  of life
        P4        To maximise the role of woodland and forestry in contributing to health
                  and wellbeing
        P5        To encourage sustainable timber transport
        P6        To maximise the contribution of the forestry sector to the viability of rural
                  communities



                                             53
      SEA Objectives
      Water and soil
WS1   To contribute to sustainable soil management through forestry and
      woodland planning and management
WS2   To promote forestry and woodland management which contributes
      positively to the sustainable management of the water environment and
      achievement of Water Framework Directive objectives
      Air
A1    To minimise the air quality impacts of timber transport and processing
A2    To maximise the role of woodlands and forestry in contributing to air
      quality
      Climate
C1    To increase the potential of the forestry sector in contributing to
      Scotland’s renewable energy resources
C2    To further increase the role of woodland and forestry in achieving carbon
      sequestration
C3    To ensure that woodland and forestry planning and management takes
      account of the need to adapt to climate change
      Landscape
L1    To increase the contribution of forests and trees to scenic values,
      including distinctiveness and diversity of the landscape.
      Historic environment
H1    To protect, conserve and, where appropriate, enhance the historic
      environment.
H2    To protect archaeological remains
H3    To increase awareness and understanding of cultural heritage related to
      woodlands
      Material Assets
M1    To minimise the use of resources including fuel and chemicals, and to
      minimise the creation of waste products
M2    To promote the integration and co-ordination of forestry and woodland
      with other land uses.




                               54
5.     ASSESSMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

5.1.   This part of the Environmental Report sets out the results of the assessment of
       environmental effects that are predicted to result from the implementation of
       the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan. Chapter 6 presents the results of the
       assessment of reasonable alternatives. Chapter 7 describes measures that
       would prevent, reduce and offset the adverse effects predicted to result from
       the Moray Forest District Strategic Plan.

       ASSESSMENT OF THE FOREST DISTRICT STRATEGIC PLAN
5.2.   The Moray Forest District Strategic Plan was assessed on a theme by theme
       basis, assessing each of the relevant actions or policies under each theme
       against the SEA objectives. The following paragraphs summarise the results
       of the assessment, highlighting that in many cases, the FDSP is likely to result
       in positive environmental effects. There were, however, a number of policy
       areas where the potential for adverse effects was identified. Many of these
       issues were common to all 14 Forest Districts and have therefore been
       addressed through Forest Enterprise Scotland’s new Framework Strategic
       Plan which is it is intended will be read alongside the district level plans. The
       net effect of this is to reduce the potential adverse environmental effects and
       in some cases increase the positive environmental effects identified at district
       level. Italic text is used in the following paragraphs to indicate where the issue
       has been addressed through the national document. It is anticipated that
       many of these policy issues will be incorporated in the District Plan before it is
       finalised.

       CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES
       Biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives
5.3.   The assessment identified a positive relationship between climate change
       policies and the SEA biodiversity objectives, reflecting the potential benefits
       associated with new woodland creation (depending on the biodiversity value of
       areas for woodland establishment), the role of woodland in contributing to
       sustainable catchment management and policies designed to tailor species
       choice to local environmental conditions.
5.4.   However, the assessment identified the potential for the policies on renewable
       energy (particularly the policy supporting the development of wind energy) to
       have a negative impact on biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives given that
       the plan’s biodiversity protection policies do not extend to non forestry
       operations. It is recommended that the policy is strengthened to ensure that
       the development of renewable energy schemes does not have an adverse
       effect on biodiversity. Additional or modified policies could also be included
       under the environmental quality theme, extending the environmental controls
       on forestry operations to other aspects of FCS work, including the
       identification, development or disposal of sites for renewable energy
       development.


                                           55
5.5.   This issues has been addressed in the FSP which requires the environmental
       effects of renewable energy projects to be taken into consideration.
5.6.   Climate change policies have an overall neutral or slightly positive effect on
       the SEA objective relating to sustainable deer management.

       Population and human health objectives
5.7.   The plan’s climate change policies were assessed against population and
       human health objectives as having a range of predominantly neutral or
       positive effects. New woodland creation and increased woodland as part of
       sustainable catchment management were judged likely to bring a range of
       recreation and quality of life benefits. New woodlands and renewable energy
       developments would also contribute to the viability of rural communities.
       However, the assessment noted that renewable energy development could
       have implications for the existing recreation resource and it is recommended
       that this is reflected in the policy text, or in policies under the ‘access and
       health’ theme. This issues has been addressed in the FSP which requires the
       social effects of renewable energy projects to be taken into consideration.

       Water and soil objectives
5.8.   Overall there was a strong, positive relationship between the climate change
       policies and the objectives of promoting sustainable management of soils and
       the water environment.
5.9.   The policy of harvesting coastal woodlands prior to their loss to the sea was
       identified as having a potential negative effect on soils since this could leave
       the ground even more vulnerable to erosion. Clarification of this policy might
       be considered.

       Air objectives
5.10. The assessment found that the plan’s climate change policies would have
      limited impact in terms of air quality objectives. The principal exception to this
      was in relation to the development of biomass which could lead to a possible
      increase in timber transport, though this would depend on the current use of
      the site and proximity to processing plant.

       Climate objectives
5.11. The assessment identified a strong positive relationship between climate
      change policies and climate objectives overall.

       Landscape objectives
5.12. The assessment identified mixed effects of climate change policies on
      landscape objectives from both forestry and non-forestry related operations.
      Given other plan policies on landscape quality, and the application of Forest
      Guidelines, it was concluded that policies to promote new woodland, restore
      moorland, contribute to catchment management and tailor species to local
      environmental conditions, would all result in positive effects on the landscape.


                                           56
      There is, however, potential for renewable energy schemes to have landscape
      impacts. It is recommended that the protection and guidance which applies to
      woodland and forestry activities is extended to non-forestry activities.
5.13. This issues has been addressed in the FSP which requires the environmental
      effects of renewable energy projects to be taken into consideration
      Historic environment objectives
5.14. The assessment identified the potential for a range of negative effects on the
      historic environment associated with renewable energy development,
      catchment management and new woodland policies. It is recognised that new
      woodland planting would be subject to existing Forestry Guidelines, so the
      principal concerns are likely to focus on the effects of renewable energy
      development, to which these guidelines and other plan safeguards do not so
      clearly apply. It is therefore recommended that these potential effects could
      be addressed by the inclusion of a new policy, or extension of existing policies
      to ensure that non-forestry operations will be designed to conserve and where
      appropriate enhance the historic environment.
5.15. This issues has been addressed in the FSP which requires the environmental
      effects of renewable energy projects to be taken into consideration. The FSP
      also includes a suite of policies covering conservation and management of the
      historic environment.

      Material assets objectives
5.13. The assessment identified an overall positive effect of climate change policies
      on material assets objectives as the policies generally promote the integration
      of the forestry with other land uses (e.g. renewable energy developments) and
      resource use minimisation.

      TIMBER POLICES
      Biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives
5.14. The overall effect of timber policies under biodiversity, flora and fauna
      objectives is neutral to positive.

      Population and human health objectives
5.15. The assessment found that most of the timber policies are neutral or slightly
      positive when considered in terms of the population and human health
      objectives, reflecting the emphasis on a more environmentally sensitive
      approach, matching production to location and adapting to climate change.
      The timber transport policy has potential to bring more significant benefits for
      population and human health by reducing impacts on local communities, while
      the expansion of hardwood timber could directly and indirectly sustain rural
      communities.




                                           57
      Water and soil objectives
5.16. The assessment concluded that timber policies would generally have neutral
      or positive effects on soils and the water environment.

      Air objectives
5.17. While timber production has inevitable implications for air quality as a
      consequence of transport movements, the plan’s policies on alternative
      transport methods should help ensure that the impacts are stabilized or
      reduced. A significant increase in hardwood timber production could increase
      air pollution from timber transport.

      Climate objectives
5.18. The assessment found that relatively few of the policies under the timber
      theme were likely to have significant implications for the objectives of
      mitigating and adapting to climate change. Positive effects were identified in
      relation to the development of alternative transport methods and the
      expansion of commercial broadleaves.

      Landscape objectives
5.19. The assessment concluded that the timber policies would have positive or
      neutral implications for landscape character and quality.

      Historic environment objectives
5.20. Timber policies were assessed as being predominantly neutral in terms of their
      effects on the historic environment. The principal exception was in relation to
      an expansion of hardwood timber where this involves significant areas of new
      planting.
5.20. The FSP includes a suite of policies covering conservation and management
      of the historic environment
      Material assets objectives
5.21. The assessment found that there would be positive impacts associated with
      the use of alternative transport methods.

      BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT POLICIES
      Biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives
5.22. The assessment found that the business development policies would generally
      have neutral effects when judged against biodiversity objectives. Whilst the
      plan includes policies to increase non-timber sources of income, these are
      conditional on there being no conflict with other plan policies. The assessment
      found that the Portfolio Analysis policy could deliver biodiversity benefits,
      depending on the application of criteria for acquisition or disposal of land. The
      FSP provides additional information on the process of acquiring or disposing
      of land.



                                          58
      Population and human health objectives
5.23. The assessment identified a strong positive contribution of business
      development theme policies to SEA population and human health objectives.
5.24. The most positive effects were associated with policies to promote recreation
      and tourism, support local businesses, support Moray 2020, and in relation to
      the SEA objective of supporting the viability of rural communities. There was
      some uncertainty about the effects of the Portfolio Analysis policy, though it is
      recognised that the effects are most likely to be positive. The FSP provides
      additional information on the process of acquiring or disposing of land.

      Water and soil objectives
5.25. Business development policies would have minor effects on water and soil
      objectives. The principal concern related to the absence of a policy providing
      protection for soils, and the consequent risk that some activities (promotion of
      access, planting on farmland under the portfolio policy) could have an adverse
      effect on soils. This could be addressed by clarification of policies under this
      theme, or by including new policies under the environmental quality theme
      applying to non-forestry operations and extending protection to soils. The FSP
      includes a commitment to compliance with the Forest Guidelines on water and
      soils.

      Air objectives
5.26. The assessment concluded that the business development policies would
      have neutral or minor positive implications for air quality objectives. It is
      possible that the promotion of recreation could result in an increase in
      transport movements and this could be mitigated by policies promoting green
      travel plans, providing facilities close to where people live, and by encouraging
      walking and cycling and the use of public transport.

      Climate objectives
5.27. The assessment indicated that the portfolio analysis and income diversification
      policies had potential to contribute to climate change objectives primarily
      through the development of renewable energy schemes.

      Landscape objectives
5.28. The assessment concluded that the business development policies would
      generally have a neutral effect on the landscape objectives. The principal
      exceptions to this related to the policy on diversifying income since this could
      result in developments that would have landscape impacts and that would not
      be addressed by current FCS safeguards. It is recommended that these
      polices are qualified or new policies included under the environmental quality
      theme outlining the requirement for non-forestry activities to conserve and
      enhance the landscape. The FSP includes policies which require the
      environmental effects of renewable energy projects to be taken into account,
      though this protection does not extend to other forms of non-forestry
      development on the Forest Estate.


                                           59
       Historic environment objectives
5.29. The assessment concluded that the business development policies would
      have mixed effects on the historic environment objectives. Policies to promote
      tourism and develop non-timber sources of income were identified as
      potentially having adverse impacts on the historic environment through
      damage to the fabric and setting of important sites. In addition to the negative
      effects identified, the potential for positive effects on awareness and
      understanding through increased access to the forest estate were also
      recognised. It is recommended that these polices are qualified or new policies
      included under the environmental quality theme outlining the requirement for
      non-forestry activities to conserve and enhance the historic environment.
5.30. The FSP includes policies which require the environmental effects of
      renewable energy projects to be taken into account, though this protection
      does not extend to other forms of non-forestry development on the Forest
      Estate. The FSP does include policies covering conservation, management
      and interpretation of the historic environment..

       Material assets objectives
5.30. The assessment identified an overall positive effect of business development
      policies on Material Assets objectives. Most of the policies would require the
      integration and co-ordination of forestry and woodland with other land uses
      (e.g. recreation facilities). Improved staff and contractor skills should result in
      reduced use of resources including fuel and chemicals, and reductions in the
      amount of waste produced by the forestry sector.

       COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT POLICIES
       Biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives
5.31. The assessment identified a positive relationship between community
      development policies and the SEA biodiversity objectives. Possible adverse
      impacts were however identified in relation to the Young People policy since
      increased activity has the potential to result in damage or disturbance to
      habitats and species. It is recommended that these polices are qualified or
      new policies included under the environmental quality theme outlining the
      requirement for non-forestry activities to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

       Population and human health objectives
5.32. As would be anticipated, the assessment identified strong and positive
      relationship of Community Development policies on population and human
      health objectives.

       Water and soil objectives
5.33. The Young Persons policy could have an adverse effect on soils and the water
      environment given the lack of policy safeguards for non-forestry operations.
      These could be addressed through the inclusion of a new policy, or extension
      of existing policies, to ensure that non-forestry operations will be designed to


                                            60
       conserve and enhance soils and the water environment. The commitment to
       partnership working will help ensure soil and water objectives are considered.
       The FSP includes a commitment to comply with the Forest Guidelines on
       water and soil. This protection should be extended to cover non-forestry
       activities.

       Air and Climate objectives
5.34. The assessment identified an overall neutral effect of community development
      policies on air and climate objectives, with some benefits resulting from the
      commitment to partnership working.

       Landscape objectives
5.35. The assessment identified positive effects associated with the partnership
      policies. However, it also identified the potential for adverse effects
      associated with the creation of new facilities as a result of implementation of
      the Young Persons policy. Again, this could be mitigated through the inclusion
      of a new policy, or extension of existing policies, to ensure that non-forestry
      operations will be designed to conserve and enhance the landscape.

       Historic environment objectives
5.36. Most policies under this theme would potentially contribute to the objective of
      increasing awareness and understanding of the historic environment.
5.37. Potential negative effects on the historic environment resulting from the
      implementation of the Young Persons policy could be avoided through the
      provision of a safeguarding policy for non forestry related activities (as
      mentioned above).

       Material assets objectives
5.38. The assessment identified an overall positive effect of policy on the objective
      of integrating forestry with other land uses and activities particularly as a result
      of the partnership and education policies.

       ACCESS AND HEALTH POLICIES
       Biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives
5.39. The plan’s access and health policies were assessed as having a combination
      of positive and negative effects on biodiversity. Positive effects would be
      associated with policies designed to implement the Scottish Outdoor Access
      Code and manage motorcycle use. However, there were also concerns that
      policies designed to promote more widespread access could, without
      adequate planning and management, result in adverse impacts on
      biodiversity, for example through habitat management or disturbance.
      Potential negative impacts of access policies could be mitigated through their
      modification to promote well managed access and recreation that will not have
      an adverse impact on the environmental quality of the forest estate. The FSP



                                            61
      includes a commitment to research the effects of recreation on the forest
      environment.

      Population and human health objectives
5.40. The assessment identified a strong positive relationship of population and
      human health policies with population and human health objectives. These
      policies have been designed to bring significant benefits to population and
      human health by increasing the range of opportunities for access, recreation
      and health, which in turn would bring quality of life benefits and contribute to
      the diversification of rural communities.

      Water and soil objectives
5.41. The assessment concluded that most policies under this theme would have a
      neutral impact on water and soil. However, policies designed to promote more
      widespread access could result in an increase in soil erosion or compaction
      and have implications for the water environment. These could be addressed
      by clarifying the policy, adding a policy under the environmental quality theme
      addressing conservation of soils, and ensuring forest design guidelines are
      implemented fully in relation to non-forestry activities. The FSP includes a
      commitment to comply with the Forest Guidelines on water and soil which
      should address this concern.

      Air objectives
5.42. The assessment concluded that policies designed to increase participation in
      forest based recreation could result in increased emissions from transport.
      This could be addressed by prioritising development of facilities close to where
      people live, and promoting sustainable access to the forest estate.

      Climate and Landscape objectives
5.43. The assessment identified an overall neutral effect of access and health
      policies climate and landscape objectives.

      Historic environment objectives
5.44. The assessment identified a mixed positive and negative effect of access and
      health policies on the historic environment. Although access policies could
      result in better interpretation of the historic and cultural value of woodlands,
      increased access activity in the area could have adverse effects on the historic
      environment causing damage to important sites and monuments. Policies
      should be modified to ensure that access will not have an adverse impact on
      the historic environment of the forest estate.
5.20. The FSP includes a suite of policies covering conservation, management and
      interpretation of the historic environment
      Material assets objectives
5.45. The assessment identified minor negative effects of policies designed to
      promote forest based recreation since these would increase fuel use
      associated with private transport.

                                           62
      ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY POLICIES
      Biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives
5.46. Environmental quality policies generally score positively under biodiversity
      objectives.

      Population and human health objectives
5.47. Environmental quality policies were assessed as having generally positive
      effects in terms of population and human health objectives. Environmental
      protection measures provided by these policies are likely to have positive
      knock on effects on quality of life and viability of rural communities through
      water quality conservation and reduction of flood risk. The policy on cultural
      heritage would aid conservation and enhancement of the landscape and the
      historic environment which would contribute to the Forest Estate’s value for
      tourism and recreation.

      Water and soil objectives
5.48. There is likely to be a positive effect of water quality and catchment
      management policies on water objectives and a positive effect on soil
      objectives. These policies seek the positive management of forestry activities
      in order to protect water quality, and would help to reduce the risk of water run
      off and soil erosion through floodplain woodland establishment. The absence
      of a soil protection policy should be highlighted as its introduction could help
      mitigate potential negative effects on soils derived from forestry and non
      forestry operations and to make a more positive contribution towards the
      achievement of sustainable soil management objectives. The FSP includes a
      commitment to comply with the Forest Guidelines on water and soil.

      Air objectives
5.49. The assessment indicated that environmental quality policies will have a
      neutral effect on air quality.

      Climate objectives
5.50. The assessment indicated that flood and catchment management policies are
      likely to provide positive benefits in terms of climate change adaptation.

      Landscape objectives
5.51. The assessment found that several environmental quality policies would
      provide positive support for the SEA landscape policies.

      Historic environment objectives
5.52. Whilst the cultural heritage policy provides positive support for the historic
      environment objectives, there is potential for adverse effects associated with
      any new planting which occurs as a result of the flood and catchment
      management policy. The latter, should however be addressed through the
      application of the cultural heritage policy and application of Forest Guidelines.


                                           63
5.20. The FSP includes a suite of policies covering conservation, management and
      interpretation of the historic environment
      Material assets objectives
5.53. The assessment identified an overall neutral to positive effect of environmental
      quality policies on material assets objectives.

      BIODIVERSITY POLICIES
      Biodiversity, flora and fauna objectives
5.54. There is a very strong positive relationship between biodiversity policies and
      biodiversity SEA objectives.
5.55. Despite these positive findings in relation to biodiversity, the assessment has
      taken note of the provisions of ‘The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.)
      Amendment (No. 2) (Scotland) Regulations 2007’ which requires an
      ‘appropriate assessment’ in accordance with the Habitats Directive where in
      the opinion of the Scottish Ministers a plan may have a significant effect on a
      European site (Special Area for Conservation, Special Protection Area or
      Ramsar Site) in Great Britain. To address this requirement, it is recommended
      that the Strategic Plan should be clarified to make explicit reference to the
      requirement to protect the integrity of internationally important biodiversity
      sites and to require that potential effects on such sites are considered at
      project levels. The FSP includes a requirement that Appropriate Assessment
      should be used to ensure that management of the Forest Estate does not
      adversely affect the integrity of Natura 2000 sites.

      Population and human health objectives
5.56. Overall there is likely to be a positive effect of biodiversity policies on
      population and human health objectives. Possible tensions were identified
      between the policy of ensuring appropriate management of designated areas
      and the promotion of public access, and between the policy of deer
      management and the objective of maintaining the viability of rural
      communities. These are considered to be issues that could be addressed at
      forest plan level without a requirement for significant changes in policy.

      Water and soil objectives
5.57. Biodiversity policies aim to restore and enhance priority habitats, habitat
      networks and species which ultimately could contribute to the sustainable
      water and soil environments management.

      Air objectives
5.58. The assessment identified an overall neutral effect of biodiversity policies on
      air quality objectives.




                                          64
       Climate objectives
5.59. An overall positive effect of biodiversity policies on climate change objectives
      was identified through the assessment.

       Landscape objectives
5.60. An overall positive contribution of biodiversity policies to SEA landscape
      objectives was identified through the assessment. Sustainable Deer
      Management policy could also involve the reduced need for deer fencing,
      contributing to landscape by requiring fewer fence structures and avoiding
      sharp changes in vegetation patterns and colours along fencelines. It should
      be noted that the policy on management of ‘all designated areas’ actually
      applies only to biodiversity designations. The title and scope should be
      clarified or extended to cover landscape (and other appropriate) designations.
      The FSP includes policies relating to landscape designations and clarifies the
      title of the policy dealing with biodiversity designations.

       Historic environment objectives
5.61. The development of Habitat Networks policies could have a negative impact
      on historic environment objectives through the establishment or restoration of
      woodlands. These potential impacts could however be mitigated by ensuring
      that forestry and planting operations would adhere to the Forests and
      Archaeology Guidelines. The remaining biodiversity policies would overall
      have a neutral impact on the historic environment. It should be noted that the
      policy on management of ‘all designated areas’ applies only to biodiversity
      designations and as such, the title and scope should be clarified or extended
      to cover historic (and other appropriate) designations.. The FSP includes a
      suite of policies covering conservation, management and interpretation of the
      historic environment. It clarifies the title of the policy dealing with biodiversity
      designations.

       Material assets objectives
5.62. Deer Management policy is likely to require co-ordination with other land
      holdings contributing therefore to material assets objective M2. Other
      biodiversity policies are unlikely to have any significant impacts on material
      assets.




                                            65
66
6.     ALTERNATIVES

6.1.   Regulation 14(2)(b) of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act
       2005 requires the likely significant environmental effects of the plan or strategy
       and its reasonable alternatives to be identified, described and evaluated.
       Furthermore, the Act stipulates that the reasons for selecting alternatives
       should be outlined.
6.2.   In total, nine alternative scenarios to the implementation of the Forest District
       Strategic Plan were evaluated. The approach developed for the SEA of the
       Forest District Strategic Plans has been as follows:

          •   A comparison with the likely environmental effects of continuing with the
              existing 2000 Forest District Strategic Plan (the ‘do nothing’ option);

          •   Comparison with the likely effects of implementing the Scottish Forestry
              Strategy at a District level;

          •   Comparison with a theoretical alternative whereby one policy area is
              prioritised over the remaining six policy themes:
                 o Climate change
                 o Timber
                 o Business development
                 o Community development
                 o Access and health
                 o Environmental quality
                 o Biodiversity
6.3.   It is considered that this framework provides a means of evaluating the 2007
       Forest District Strategic Plan against the current Strategic Plan, and against
       less balanced and integrated alternatives. Whilst it would have been possible
       to assess a more varied range of alternatives, it is considered that these would
       not have been representative of the overarching objectives of the Scottish
       Forestry Strategy and as such, were not deemed ‘reasonable’ alternatives.
6.4.   Table 10(a) sets out the analysis of the likely significant environmental effects
       of implementing the SFS at a local level and the ‘do nothing’ option, compared
       with the effects of implementation of the 2007 plan.
6.5.   The likely effects of implementing alternative plans where only one policy area
       is prioritised at the expense of the others is set out in Table 10(b).
6.6.   Overall, it is concluded that, when judged against SEA criteria, the 2007 Moray
       FDSP performs better than the former Strategic Plan which it will replace. It
       also provides a more integrated and balanced approach than alternatives
       which prioritise one policy theme over others.

                                            67
Table 10 (a)
                                     Moray Forest District Strategic Plan      Scottish Forestry Strategy                  Previous SP
                                     (2007)
Biodiversity, flora and fauna
To help implement the objectives     The 2007 draft plan generally             Most of the policies within the SFS will    While the existing plan does not
of the Scottish Biodiversity         performs well when assessed against       support biodiversity, flora and fauna.      contain a formal suite of biodiversity
Strategy (see SEA objectives B2      biodiversity SEA objectives.              In particular, the SFS will help to         policies, it is positive towards the
to B6 below)
                                                                               increase public awareness and               concept and includes a number of
To halt the loss of biodiversity     The biodiversity policies clearly score   understanding of biodiversity, while        policies designed to safeguard and
and continue to reverse previous     highly, as do habitat restoration         not only safeguarding existing              enhance the natural environment.
losses through targeted action       policies designed to aid adaption to      habitats, but also enhancing them
for species and habitats             the effects of climate change.            where possible.                             These policies are generally more
To increase awareness,                                                                                                     specific than the 2007 equivalent and
understanding and enjoyment of       Potential for negative effects is         While the conclusions of the SFS may        provide less of a strategic overview,
biodiversity and engage many         generated through the renewable           appear more positive that those of the      but would be generally positive. As
more people in conservation and      energy and access policies, which         Moray FDSP, this is perhaps illusory        this plan does not contain such a
enhancement.                         may result in damage to habitats or       due to the absence of conflicts with        strong development focus, it is likely
To restore and enhance               disturbance of sensitive species.         development-orientated policies.            that biodiversity gains would also be
biodiversity in all our urban and                                                                                          made in this respect. However, it does
rural environments through           However, these negative effects are       This could be seen as the inevitable        not enjoy the synergy between
better planning, design and          as much to do with the lack of specific   outcome of local implementation of          environmental protection and
practice.                            environmental safeguards for non-         national-level policies, and it is likely   biodiversity enhancement policies that
To develop an effective              forestry development as to the threat     that direct application of the SFS          the 2007 plan does.
management framework that            from any particular class of              policies in the Forest District would
ensures that biodiversity is taken   development.                              result in similar tensions and conflicts.   The ‘do-nothing’ option is likely to
into account in all decision-                                                                                              have a slightly less positive effect on
making                               It should also be noted that impacts                                                  biodiversity than the 2007 plan,
To ensure that the best new and      from renewable energy developments                                                    principally because of the less
existing knowledge on                would be mitigated through the land                                                   strategic approach.
biodiversity is available to all     use planning process.
policy makers and practitioners.
To secure sustainable deer
management based on good
information about deer numbers
and impacts and implemented
through local Deer Management
Plans




                                                                               68
                                       Moray Forest District Strategic Plan      Scottish Forestry Strategy                  Previous SP
                                       (2007)
Population and human health
To increase the opportunities for      The plan will have a positive overall     Policy aims relating to population and      The existing plan, while less
access to and enjoyment of             effect on population and human health     human health are also widely                development focussed than its
forests and woodlands by all           objectives. By enhancing the              supported by the different elements of      replacement, still contains a number
sectors of society, including
                                       environment, contributing to quality of   the SFS.                                    of policies which will positively
those who live in towns and            life and creating leisure and                                                         influence the health and viability of
cities, and in lowland areas           employment opportunities, the plan        This is a more positive conclusion          communities.
To ensure that sustainable             stands to have a beneficial effect on     than drawn in relation to the 2007
tourism and recreation are             local communities.                        draft plan; which reflects the absence      Tourism, access and recreation are all
promoted through the forestry                                                    of potential conflicts with                 extensively promoted, as is the
sector                                 The only apparent area for concern is     development-oriented policies.              potential for communities to directly
To maximise the role of                the potential outcomes of portfolio                                                   benefit from woodlands through
woodland and forestry in               analysis, which could result in land      To some extent, this finding is an          allocating land for development and
contributing to quality of life        use change, with detrimental effects      inevitable result of national policies      community woodlands.
To maximise the role of                on communities through loss of            being translated at the local level and
woodland and forestry in               access or amenity values.                 it is likely that a direct application of   While the policies and effects of the
contributing to health and                                                       SFS policies to the Moray Forest            existing plan are broadly similar, they
wellbeing                                                                        District would result in similar            are likely to be less positive than
To encourage sustainable timber                                                  tensions.                                   those of the 2007 plan. This is due to
transport                                                                                                                    the more integrated approach of the
To maximise the contribution of                                                                                              new plan and the additional priority
the forestry sector to the viability                                                                                         placed on community development
of rural communities                                                                                                         and economic diversification.




                                                                                 69
                                    Moray Forest District Strategic Plan        Scottish Forestry Strategy                    Previous SP
                                    (2007)
Water and soil
                                    The plan is likely to have a positive       Outcome 3 of the SFS performs                 Unlike the 2007 plan, the existing
                                    overall effect on the water and soil        particularly well in relation to              FDSP contains a soil protection policy,
                                    environments.                               supporting policy aims for water and          designed to limit the effects of erosion
                                                                                soil, although there are less direct          and compaction. There are a number
                                    The principal areas of concern relate       benefits from other parts of the              of other policies which would also
To contribute to sustainable soil   to the development of non-timber            strategy. Positive effects may occur in       positively contribute to soil and water
management through forestry         activities on the Forest Estate and         relation to increased education and           quality, for instance the adoption of
and woodland planning and           increased access and recreation use         training giving enhanced stewardship          lower impact silvicultural systems and
management                          of woodlands. It is possible that such      of water and soil.                            the expansion of riparian woodland.
                                    activities will increase erosion and
                                    compaction through larger visitor           It is likely that direct application of the   However, like its successor, this plan
                                    numbers and more intensive use of           SFS would have resulted in similar, or        offers no protection against non-forest
                                    forest infrastructure.                      slightly better, conclusions.                 operations.

                                    This situation is largely a result of the   Again, the SFS policies experience no         In practice, the effects of the ‘do-
                                    lack of a robust soil protection policy     direct conflict with development-driven       nothing’ option will be broadly
                                    in the plan, particularly in relation to    policies, and therefore the perceived         comparable with those of the 2007
                                    non-forest operations.                      positive effects may be artificially          plan, as the operational
To promote forestry and                                                         inflated.                                     considerations for forest work remain
woodland management which                                                                                                     largely unchanged (i.e. governed by
contributes positively to the                                                                                                 the Forest Guidelines)
sustainable management of the
water environment and
achievement of Water
Framework Directive objectives



Air




                                                                                70
                                     Moray Forest District Strategic Plan       Scottish Forestry Strategy                  Previous SP
                                     (2007)
                                     There will be a largely positive effect    The SFS does not specifically aim to        Air quality is not considered in the
                                     on air quality resulting from the          deliver air quality benefits and would      existing plan. However, it is likely that
                                     implementation of this plan.               not adversely affect this environmental     some aspects of other policies would
                                                                                issue, but there will be indirect           convey indirect benefits and negative
                                     However, there are potential negative      benefits arising from activities such as    impacts. There is a sustainable
To minimise the air quality          effects in relation to the development     the increasing use of woodfuel and          transport policy, which will go some
impacts of timber transport and      of woodfuel, in that the emissions for     biomass.                                    way to limiting haulage emissions.
processing                           any installations may diminish air
                                     quality, as will the increased volume of   This is a similar conclusion to that        Continued implementation of the
                                     haulage traffic. Similarly, developing     drawn in relation to the 2007 draft         existing plan is likely to result in
                                     the hardwood sector would result in        FDSP.                                       broadly similar, or slightly greater,
                                     longer distance road haulage of timber                                                 effects on air quality.
                                     to more specialised, and dispersed,
                                     processing sites.



To maximise the role of
woodlands and forestry in
contributing to air quality




Climate
                                     The plan will have a slight positive       There is a positive relationship across     The existing plan makes no reference
To increase the potential of the
                                     overall effect on climate change SEA       all three outcomes and the SEA              to climate change – reflecting the
forestry sector in contributing to
                                     objectives. However, the positive          climate objectives, particularly relating   relatively recent surge of interest in
Scotland’s renewable energy
                                     effects tend to be concentrated in the     to adaptation, the growth of timber for     the phenomenon.
resources
                                     climate change, timber and                 renewable energy and support for the




                                                                                71
                                    Moray Forest District Strategic Plan      Scottish Forestry Strategy                  Previous SP
                                    (2007)
                                    biodiversity sections – generally         Scottish Climate Change Programme           However, it is likely that some policies,
                                    relating to the mitigation potential of   (including commitments to carbon            such as sustainable timber transport
                                    renewables and increased planting for     sequestration and other approaches          and new woodland planting would
To further increase the role of     carbon sequestration.                     to climate change mitigation).
                                                                                                                          have indirect benefits in terms of
woodland and forestry in                                                                                                  carbon sequestration and emissions
achieving carbon sequestration      No negative effects were recorded         This is similar to the assessment of
                                    against these objectives.                 the 2007 draft FDSP                         reduction.

                                                                                                                          Continued adherence to this plan
                                                                                                                          would result in more negative effects
                                                                                                                          against climate change objectives,
                                                                                                                          principally as no provision is made for
To ensure that woodland and
                                                                                                                          adaptive measures.
forestry planning and
management takes account of
the need to adapt to climate
change


Landscape
                                    The 2007 draft plan should have a         The strongest positive impacts on           While no formal landscape protection
                                    slight positive overall effect on         landscape will arise from Outcome 1         policy is included in the existing plan,
                                    landscape quality. This is particularly   of the SFS, particularly in terms of        a number of policies will make a
                                    related to the implementation of          increased awareness, understanding          positive contribution to landscape
                                    improved forest design, habitat           and enjoyment of the natural heritage       quality.
                                    restoration and enhancement and           of the forest environment, reduced
                                    environmental quality policies.           clear-felling and increasing and            By effectively protecting designated
To increase the contribution of                                               enhancing biodiversity.                     biodiversity and cultural heritage sites,
forests and trees to scenic         The principal threats to landscape                                                    developing habitat networks and
values, including distinctiveness   quality come from non-forestry            This is a more positive conclusion          adopting lower impact silvicultural
and diversity of the landscape.     operations – such as the development      than drawn in relation to the 2007          systems, the landscape value of the
                                    of renewable energy installations –       draft plan, reflecting the absence of       Forest Estate will be enhanced.
                                    which are not covered by the 2007         potential conflicts with development        Similarly, encouraging the
                                    policies.                                 oriented policies. To some extent, this     regeneration of ancient and native
                                                                              finding is an inevitable result of local    woodlands will bolster these habitats
                                                                              implementation of national policy, and      and improve landscape character.
                                                                              it is likely that a direct application of
                                                                              SFS policies to the Moray Forest            However, the lack of a strategic


                                                                              72
                                    Moray Forest District Strategic Plan       Scottish Forestry Strategy                Previous SP
                                    (2007)
                                                                               District would result in similar          approach to landscape protection may
                                                                               tensions.                                 result in a slightly less positive
                                                                                                                         outcome than the 2007 plan, although
                                                                                                                         both lack the all-important protection
                                                                                                                         from non-forest operations.
Historic environment
To protect, conserve and, where     The plan will have a neutral or slight     The strongest positive impacts on         The existing plan is more specific in its
appropriate, enhance the historic   negative effect on the historic            historic environment will arise from      aims than the 2007 draft, undertaking
environment.                        environment.                               Outcome 1 of the SFS, particularly in     to protect both scheduled and
To protect archaeological                                                      terms of increased awareness,             unscheduled sites and implementing
remains                             Although the majority of policies will     understanding and enjoyment of the        SAM management plans.
To increase awareness and           have no effect, the development of         cultural heritage of the forest
understanding of cultural           non-timber sources of income,              environment.
heritage related to woodlands       business development and
                                    afforestation policies will result in      This is a more positive conclusion        It is therefore likely that the continued
                                    conflict with ancient monuments and        than drawn in relation to the 2007        implementation of this plan would
                                    their landscape setting.                   draft plan; reflecting the absence of     have a similar effect to the 2007 plan,
                                                                               potential conflicts with development      as it affords similar levels of protection
                                    This reflects the fact that the cultural   oriented policies. To some extent, this   –albeit in more specific terms – while
                                    heritage policy affords no protection to   finding is an inevitable result of        doing little to promote access and
                                    cultural heritage from non-forest          national policies being translated at     interpretation of sites and monuments.
                                    operations.                                the local level and it is likely that a
                                                                               direct application of SFS policies to
                                    The plan is somewhat lacking in            the Moray Forest District would result
                                    commitments to promote                     in similar tensions
                                    understanding and enjoyment of the
                                    historic environment




                                                                               73
                                 Moray Forest District Strategic Plan       Scottish Forestry Strategy                Previous SP
                                 (2007)
Material Assets
                                 The plan will have a slight positive       In terms of material assets, there will   The existing plan undertakes to
To minimise the use of           effect on material assets, particularly    be a strong positive impact on the        reduce chemical use and to promote
resources including fuel and     in relation to promoting the integration   objectives supporting the rural           more sustainable forms of timber
chemicals, and to minimise the   of forestry with other land uses.          economy. SFS aims of promoting the        transport. Similarly, the adoption of
creation of waste products                                                  efficient use of resources and greater    continuous cover systems fosters a
                                                                            integration of land uses will also        lower input method of management,
                                                                            produce benefits.                         further reducing resource use.

                                                                            This is similar to the assessment of      There are policies designed to
                                                                            the 2007 draft FDSP.                      enhance community engagement and
                                                                                                                      cooperation in timber transport, but
To promote the integration and                                                                                        beyond this the existing plan is likely
co-ordination of forestry and                                                                                         to perform less well in promoting
woodland with other land uses.                                                                                        integration with other land uses.

                                                                                                                      The ‘do-nothing’ option would
                                                                                                                      therefore be less positive than
                                                                                                                      implementation of the 2007 plan.




                                                                            74
Table 10 (b)
                          Moray Forest District        Climate change               Timber                         Business development        Community                    Access and health          Environmental quality      Biodiversity
                          Strategic Plan (2007)                                                                                                development
Biodiversity, flora and fauna
To help implement the     The 2007 draft plan          A greater emphasis on        A greater emphasis on          An increase in the          A greater emphasis on        A greater emphasis on      A greater emphasis on      A greater emphasis on
objectives of the         generally performs well      climate change within        timber production              emphasis on the Plan’s      community                    access and health          environmental quality      biodiversity policies
Scottish Biodiversity     when assessed against        the plan could result in     should not result in a         business development        development policies         could amplify negative     policies would convey      would bring significant
Strategy (see SEA                                      significantly higher         significant increase in        policies would generally    would have limited           impacts on biodiversity    additional benefits in     additional benefits in
                          biodiversity SEA
objectives B2 to B6       objectives.                  levels of new woodland       negative impacts on            have a limited effect on    impacts on biodiversity      as a result of increased   terms of biodiversity.     terms of biodiversity.
below)                                                 creation for carbon          biodiversity since             the biodiversity            objectives. There may        levels of damage and
To halt the loss of       The biodiversity             sequestration, woodfuel      Forest Guidelines and          benefits.                   be some potential for        disturbance. There
biodiversity and          policies clearly score       and in the development       the UK Forest Standard                                     increased                    would, however, be
continue to reverse       highly, as do habitat        of forest habitat            would continue to              Increasing levels of        understanding and            potential to increase
previous losses through restoration policies           networks to aid              apply.                         non-forestry                awareness of                 understanding,
targeted action for       designed to aid              species’ adaption to                                        development on the          biodiversity, but also       awareness and
species and habitats      adaption to the effects      climate change effects.      However, it is likely that     Forest Estate could         the limited potential for    appreciation of
To increase               of climate change.                                        some of the positive           have a negative impact      disturbance or damage        biodiversity in forest
awareness,                                             For the most part,           effects of the current         on habitats and             to habitats and species      environments.
understanding and         Potential for negative       these would result in        plan, for example in           species, depending on       as a result of
enjoyment of              effects is generated         greater biodiversity         terms of broadleaves,          type and location of        community
biodiversity and engage through the renewable          benefits, though this        native species,                projects.                   development or
many more people in       energy and access            would depend on the          continuous cover and                                       management.
conservation and          policies, which may          existing biodiversity        the development of             A further effect might
enhancement.              result in damage to          value of areas acquired      habitat networks would         be to prioritise business   Prioritisation of
To restore and            habitats or disturbance      for new woodland.            be reduced or lost in          opportunities over          community energy or
enhance biodiversity in of sensitive species.                                       favour of more                 social or economic          affordable housing
all our urban and rural                                Increased emphasis on        intensive conifer              issues when                 development over
environments through      However, these               renewable energy             production.                    considering the             natural heritage
better planning, design   negative effects are as      development (hydro                                          acquisition or disposal     objectives may cause
and practice.             much to do with the          and wind energy              Similarly, it is likely that   of land.                    substantial, if localised,
To develop an effective lack of specific               schemes) could result        such a plan would                                          disturbance.
management                environmental                in more significant          perform less well              However, there would
framework that ensures safeguards for non-             adverse impacts on           against the objective of       be potential for tourism
that biodiversity is      forestry development         biodiversity, particularly   increasing                     businesses to
taken into account in all as to the threat from        since these activities       understanding and              contribute to increased
decision-making           any particular class of      are not addressed by         awareness of                   levels of interpretation,
To ensure that the best development.                   existing Forest              biodiversity.                  understanding and
new and existing                                       Guidelines (although                                        enjoyment of woodland
knowledge on                                           some effects would be                                       biodiversity.
biodiversity is available It should also be noted      mitigated through the
to all policy makers and that impacts from             planning system)
practitioners.            renewable energy
To secure sustainable     developments would be
deer management           mitigated through the
based on good             land use planning
information about deer    process.
numbers and impacts
and implemented
through local Deer
Management Plans
Population and human health
To increase the           The plan will have a         An increased emphasis        Increased emphasis on          An increased weighting      An increased emphasis        An increased emphasis      An increased emphasis      An increased emphasis
opportunities for access positive overall effect       on climate change            timber production              on business                 on community                 on access and health       on environmental           on biodiversity policies
to and enjoyment of       on population and            policies would have          would have mixed               development policies        development policies         policies would bring       quality policies would     would have limited
forests and woodlands                                  comparatively minor          effects on population          would bring additional      would bring significant      significant benefits       bring limited benefits     effects when judged
                          human health
by all sectors of         objectives. By               effects on this group of     and health objectives.         benefits to rural           benefits when                when considered            when considered in         against these criteria.
society, including those enhancing the                 objectives.                                                 communities.                considered against           against these SEA          terms of quality of life
who live in towns and                                                               It is likely that the                                      these SEA objectives.        objectives.                                           It is possible that the
                          environment,
cities, and in lowland    contributing to quality of   Increases in the extent      prioritisation of timber       It is likely that non-                                                                                         priority of increasing
areas                                                  of woodland could            production would have          forestry activities would                                                                                      access to forests might


                                                                                                                              75
                             Moray Forest District       Climate change             Timber                       Business development       Community              Access and health         Environmental quality     Biodiversity
                             Strategic Plan (2007)                                                                                          development
To ensure that               life and creating leisure   enhance the recreation     the effect of reducing       sustain tourism                                                                                       be eroded in an effort
sustainable tourism and      and employment              and tourism potential of   access to forests, in        businesses, increase                                                                                  to limit disturbance and
recreation are               opportunities, the plan     the resource.              addition to eroding the      opportunities to enjoy                                                                                damage.
promoted through the         stands to have a                                       promotion of woodland        woodlands and help
forestry sector              beneficial effect on        Increases in timber        as recreation resource.      sustain the viability of
To maximise the role of      local communities.          traffic associated with    This is likely to have       rural communities.
woodland and forestry                                    woodfuel production,       knock-on effects for
in contributing to quality   The only apparent area      processing and             social inclusion and         Recreation use –
of life                      for concern is the          distribution could be an   health initiatives.          particularly mountain-
To maximise the role of      potential outcomes of       issue, creating                                         biking – is already a
woodland and forestry        portfolio analysis, which   additional impacts on      It is also likely that       significant use of the
in contributing to health    could result in land use    roadside communities       increased timber             Forest Estate, and
and wellbeing                change, with                through pollution,         production would result      would bring additional
To encourage                 detrimental effects on      vibration and risk of      in additional timber         benefits through more
sustainable timber           communities through         accidents.                 transport impacts for        intensive promotion.
transport                    loss of access or                                      rural communities. The
                             amenity values.             Greater use of timber in   cumulative effects on        However, the emphasis
                                                         construction could         roadside settlements         on development could
                                                         contribute to quality of   are potentially severe       result in impacts on
                                                         life.                      through a combination        quality of life,
                                                                                    of noise, vibration,         depending on the
                                                         Widespread                 emissions and an             project and location in
                                                         proliferation of           increased probability of     question.
                                                         renewable energy           accidents.
                                                         developments could
                                                         have adverse effects       As production is
                                                         on tourism, recreation     prioritised, it is likely
To maximise the                                          and quality of life,       that community
contribution of the                                      depending on their         engagement would also
forestry sector to the                                   location and design.       suffer and the potential
viability of rural                                                                  for land disposal for
communities                                              Taken together, these      social enterprises
                                                         measures could             would be reduced.
                                                         contribute positively to
                                                         the viability of rural     However, it is likely that
                                                         communities by             this policy emphasis
                                                         providing additional or    would further increase
                                                         more reliable sources      the contribution of the
                                                         of employment and          timber sector to rural
                                                         income.                    employment and the
                                                                                    rural economy more
                                                                                    widely.
Water and soil
To contribute to             The plan is likely to       An emphasis on             Prioritising timber          An increased emphasis      Greater emphasis on    Greater emphasis on       Greater emphasis on       Greater emphasis on
sustainable soil             have a positive overall     climate change policies    production could mean        on business policies       community              access and health         environmental quality     biodiversity policies
management through                                       could bring medium         that planting as part of     would have little effect   development policies   policies would have       would bring significant   would result in some
                             effect on the water and
forestry and woodland        soil environments.          term benefits by           flood or catchment           when judged against        would have limited     limited impacts on        benefits when             water and soil benefits
planning and                                             contributing to flood      management schemes           these criteria.            impacts on water and   water and soil            considered against        as a knock-on effect of
management                   The principal areas of      and catchment              would be given less                                     soil objectives.       objectives.               these objectives          habitat management.
To promote forestry          concern relate to the       management and             emphasis, so the             There could be limited                                                      (although a soil
and woodland                 development of non-         stabilisation of soils,    corresponding benefits       impacts through the                               Increased levels of       protection policy would
management which             timber activities on the    especially on steeper      could be reduced.            erosive effects of                                recreation could result   still be lacking).
contributes positively to    Forest Estate and           slopes.                                                 leisure and recreation                            in some increases in
the sustainable              increased access and                                   Expansion of forestry        infrastructure                                    erosion and
management of the            recreation use of           In the shorter term,       could result in              development.                                      compaction.
water environment and        woodlands. It is            there would inevitably     increased soil and
achievement of Water         possible that such          be increased impacts       water impacts, whilst
Framework Directive          activities will increase    on soil as new             reduced use of LISS


                                                                                                                             76
                          Moray Forest District         Climate change                Timber                    Business development       Community               Access and health          Environmental quality   Biodiversity
                          Strategic Plan (2007)                                                                                            development
objectives                erosion and                   woodlands are                 would mean impacts
                          compaction through            established and               associated with
                          larger visitor numbers        through engineering           clearfelling would not
                          and more intensive use        work for renewables           be reduced, and may in
                          of forest infrastructure.     installations.                fact increase.
                          This situation is largely
                                                                                      Similarly, more
                          a result of the lack of a
                          robust soil protection                                      intensive production
                          policy in the plan,                                         would require more
                          particularly in relation to                                 extensive use of heavy
                          non-forest operations.                                      machinery, further
                                                                                      compromising the soil
                                                                                      and water
                                                                                      environments (although
                                                                                      continued adherence to
                                                                                      the FC guidelines is
                                                                                      assumed)

                                                                                      Expansion of timber
                                                                                      production in the
                                                                                      District would threaten
                                                                                      fragile upland soils,
                                                                                      with serious
                                                                                      consequences for both
                                                                                      erosion and carbon
                                                                                      release


Air
                          There will be a largely       The increases in              The increases in          An increased emphasis      A greater emphasis on   Greater emphasis on        A greater emphasis on   A greater emphasis on
                                                        woodland cover                woodland cover would      on business policies       community               access and health          environmental quality   biodiversity policies
                          positive effect on air
                          quality resulting from        associated with carbon        bring minor benefits in   would have little effect   development policies    policies would have        policies would bring    would have limited
To minimise the air                                     sequestration and             terms of air quality.     when judged against        would have limited      limited impacts on air     benefits when           impacts on air
                          the implementation of
quality impacts of                                      habitat networks would        Increases in timber       these criteria.            impacts on air          objectives, particularly   considered against      objectives.
                          this plan.
timber transport and                                    bring minor benefits in       production could result                              objectives.             if access was promoted     these objectives.
processing                However, there are            terms of air quality.         in increases in local     There may be limited                               close to where people
                          potential negative                                          emissions from            increases in traffic                               live and there is no
                          effects in relation to the    Increases in timber           transport.                emissions related to                               significant increase in
                          development of                production, including                                   more intensive                                     private transport to
                          woodfuel, in that the         woodfuels could result                                  promotion of the                                   forests for recreation.
                          emissions for any             in increases in local                                   tourism, recreation and
                          installations may             emissions from                                          leisure industries.
                          diminish air quality, as      transport. However, as
                          will the increased            climate objectives are
                          volume of haulage             paramount in this
                          traffic. Similarly,           scenario, it is likely that
                          developing the                more sustainable
To maximise the role of
                          hardwood sector would         haulage solutions will
woodlands and forestry
                          result in longer distance     be prioritised, perhaps
in contributing to air
                          road haulage of timber        in spite of increased
quality
                          to more specialised,          costs.
                          and dispersed,
                          processing sites.             An increases in wind
                                                        generation capacity on
                                                        the Forest Estate is
                                                        likely to result in
                                                        significant emissions
                                                        reductions.


                                                                                                                           77
                            Moray Forest District      Climate change              Timber                    Business development      Community                   Access and health          Environmental quality       Biodiversity
                            Strategic Plan (2007)                                                                                      development
Climate
To increase the             The plan will have a       An increased emphasis       An increased emphasis     Increased emphasis on     A greater emphasis on       A greater emphasis on      A greater emphasis on       A greater emphasis on
potential of the forestry   slight positive overall    on climate change           on timber production      business development      community                   access and health          environmental quality       biodiversity policies
sector in contributing to   effect on climate          policies would bring        policies would bring      could lead to higher      development policies        policies would have        policies would bring        would have mixed
Scotland’s renewable                                   significant benefits in     benefits in terms of      levels of renewable       would have limited          limited impacts on         some benefits when          impacts on climate
                            change SEA objectives.
energy resources            However, the positive      terms of this suite of      carbon sequestration,     energy development,       impacts on climate          climate objectives.        considered against          change objectives.
To further increase the     effects tend to be         SEA objectives.             but might mean that       contributing Scotland’s   objectives.                                            these objectives,           It is likely that
role of woodland and                                                               opportunities for other   renewable energy                                                                 particularly in terms of    measures to help
                            concentrated in the
forestry in achieving       climate change, timber     (see above)                 forms of mitigation       resources.                Capacity for                                           adapting management         biodiversity to adapt to
carbon sequestration                                                               (including renewable                                community-scale                                        of the water                climate change (e.g.
                            and biodiversity
                            sections – generally                                   energy development)       Benefits in terms of      renewables may be                                      environment to climate      habitat networks) would
                            relating to the                                        and adaptation were       carbon sequestration      increased but this is                                  change and enhancing        be prioritised, as would
                                                                                   not pursued.              and adaptation could      unlikely to make a                                     forest landscapes           the expansion of native
                            mitigation potential of
                            renewables and                                                                   be reduced.               significant contribution                               through lower impact        woodland – aiding
To ensure that
                            increased planting for                                 The positive effects on                             to emissions reduction                                 silviculture and planting   carbon sequestration.
woodland and forestry
                                                                                   this objective would                                on a supra-region                                      native species.             Conversely, there could
planning and                carbon sequestration.
                                                                                   therefore be reduced.                               scale.                                                                             be increased
management takes
                                                                                                                                                                                              Benefits would also be      constraints on various
account of the need to
                                                                                                                                                                                              conveyed in terms of        forms of renewable
adapt to climate
                            No negative effects                                                                                                                                               increased habitat           energy development.
change
                            were recorded against                                                                                                                                             restoration, which
                            these objectives.                                                                                                                                                 would provide further
                                                                                                                                                                                              woodland for carbon
                                                                                                                                                                                              sequestration
Landscape
                            The 2007 draft plan        Prioritisation of climate   An increased emphasis     An increased emphasis     A greater emphasis on       A greater emphasis on      A greater emphasis on       Increased emphasis on
                                                       change policies could       on timber production      on business               community                   access and health          environmental quality       biodiversity could
                            should have a slight
                            positive overall effect    have mixed effects on       would have some           development policies      development policies        policies would have        policies would bring        benefit the landscape
                            on landscape quality.      the landscape.              negative impacts on       could result in           would have limited          limited impacts on         benefits when               by supporting the
                            This is particularly                                   this objective; however   heightened adverse        impacts on landscape        landscape objectives.      considered against this     restoration and
                            related to the             Increases in broadleaf      the continued             impacts associated with   objectives.                                            objective.                  conservation of natural
                                                       woodland could              application of the        developments not                                                                                             habitats and the
                            implementation of
                            improved forest design,    enhance landscape           Forest Design             covered by Forest         It is possible that                                                                expansion of native
To increase the                                        values, depending on        Guidelines and UK         Design Guidelines and     increased availability of                                                          woodlands.
                            habitat restoration and
contribution of forests                                existing character.         Forest Standard should    the UK Forest             land for housing or
                            enhancement and
and trees to scenic                                                                limit any damage.         Standard.                 community renewables
                            environmental quality
values, including                                      Increased cultivation of                                                        projects may have
                            policies.
distinctiveness and                                    woodfuels and wind                                    Although some             negative effects, but
diversity of the            The principal threats to   and hydro renewable                                   potential negative        these would be largely
landscape.                  landscape quality come     energy schemes could                                  effects would be          mitigated through the
                            from non-forestry          result in more adverse                                mitigated through the     intervention of the land
                            operations – such as       impacts on the                                        planning system, the      use planning system.
                            the development of         landscape.                                            outcomes would still be
                            renewable energy                                                                 more negative than the
                            installations – which                                                            2007 draft plan.
                            are not covered by the
                            2007 policies.

Historic environment
                            The plan will have a       An increased emphasis       Concentration on          An increased emphasis     A greater emphasis on       A greater emphasis on      A greater emphasis on       An increased emphasis
                            neutral or slight          on climate change           timber policies would     on business               community                   access and health          environmental quality       on biodiversity policies
                            negative effect on the     policies would result in    result in increase        development policies      development policies        policies would have        policies would bring        could raise concerns in
To protect, conserve
                            historic environment.      increased potential for     potential for adverse     could result in           would have limited          limited impacts on         benefits when               terms of the historic
and, where appropriate,
                                                       adverse effects on the      effects on the historic   increased adverse         impacts on historic         historic environment       considered against          environment
enhance the historic
                            Although the majority of   historic environment,       environment,              impacts associated with   environment objectives.     objectives as recreation   these objectives.           particularly where
environment.
                            policies will have no      associated with             associated with           developments not                                      activities should be                                   expansion of native
                            effect, the development    woodland expansion          woodland expansion.       covered by Forest         While there would be        promoted in                                            woodland is concerned.



                                                                                                                       78
                            Moray Forest District         Climate change                 Timber                     Business development       Community                  Access and health         Environmental quality     Biodiversity
                            Strategic Plan (2007)                                                                                              development
                            of non-timber sources         and the development of                                    Design Guidelines and      some potential for         accordance with the                                 This would, however,
                            of income, business           renewable energy               Application of the         the UK Forest              increased                  Forest Guidelines.                                  be addressed by Forest
                            development and               projects. However, any         Forest Design              Standard.                  understanding and          Increased access                                    Guidelines.
                            afforestation policies        afforestation projects         Guidelines and UK                                     awareness of heritage      would increase the
To protect
                            will result in conflict       should take the Forest         Forest Standard should     Again, the potential       issues relating to         probability of damage                               Prioritisation of
archaeological remains
                            with ancient                  Guidelines into                mean this would be         impacts of some            woodlands, there would     from erosion,                                       biodiversity may also
                            monuments and their           account, which would           minimised                  development types          also be additional risk    vandalism and                                       result in decreased
                            landscape setting.            limit the potential for                                   would be mitigated         from land disposal for     accidental damage.                                  access and alleviation
                                                          adverse effects.                                          through the planning       community energy or                                                            of development
                            This reflects the fact                                                                  system.                    housing projects.          There would be some                                 pressure on the Forest
                            that the cultural             Although renewables                                                                  However, these             potential for increased                             Estate.
                            heritage policy affords       development is subject                                                               impacts are likely to be   understanding and
                            no protection to cultural     to planning consent, it                                                              mitigated through the      awareness of heritage
To increase awareness       heritage from non-            is likely that some                                                                  land use planning          issues relating to
and understanding of        forest operations.            negative effects would                                                               system.                    woodlands.
cultural heritage related   The plan is somewhat          still occur, particularly in
to woodlands                lacking in commitments        relation to cumulative
                            to promote                    impacts on setting.
                            understanding and
                            enjoyment of the
                            historic environment.
Material Assets
                                                          An increase in the             An increase in the         Prioritisation of          A greater emphasis on      An increased emphasis     Greater emphasis on       An increased emphasis
                                                          emphasis on renewable          emphasis on timber         business development       community                  on access and health      environmental quality     on biodiversity policies
To minimise the use of                                    energy policies would          policies would probably    policies would result in   development policies       policies would have       policies would bring      would have little effect
resources including fuel                                  bring even more                reduce the emphasis        diminishing emphasis       would have limited         little effect on these    benefits in terms of      on these objectives.
and chemicals, and to                                     positive benefits by           on efficient use of        on resource use            impacts on resource        objectives.               resource use, though
minimise the creation of                                  developing alternative         resources.                 minimisation, but could    use objectives.                                      there would be limited
                            The plan will have a
waste products                                            energy sources                                            increase the extent to                                                          effects in terms of
                            slight positive effect on
                                                          (woodfuel, other               Focusing on the            which forestry is          However, there would                                 integration of forestry
                            material assets,
                                                          renewables) and                District’s core function   integrated with other      be potential benefits in                             with other land uses.
                            particularly in relation to
                                                          requiring integration          would mean that the        land uses.                 terms of closer
                            promoting the
                                                          with other land uses.          need for integration and                              integration of forestry
                            integration of forestry
To promote the                                                                           coordination would be                                 with local communities.
                            with other land uses.
integration and co-                                                                      reduced.
ordination of forestry
and woodland with
other land uses.




       POSITIVE: More positive than draft FDSP
       POSITIVE: but less positive than draft FDSP
       NEUTRAL: No difference
       Mixed positive and negative effects
       NEGATIVE: but less negative than draft FDSP
       NEGATIVE: More negative than draft FDSP




                                                                                                                               79
80
7.              MITIGATION OF ADVERSE EFFECTS

7.1.            Schedule 2 of the Regulations requires an explanation of ‘the measures
                envisaged to prevent, reduce and as fully as possible offset any significant
                adverse effects on the environment of implementing the plan or programme.’
                This section therefore considers the areas of potential impact identified by the
                SEA and sets out recommendations on how these should be addressed.
                Where appropriate, it also describes measures to enhance environmental
                benefits. The identification of mitigation measures takes into account the
                policies of the national level Framework Strategic Plan which will be read
                alongside each of the Forest District Strategic Plans.
                Table 11: Mitigation of adverse effects

                                                        Proposed measures for
                   Existing          Impact of                                          Implications of policies
 SEA                                                   the reduction/prevention
                  problem?         Forest District                                         contained in FES
issue                                                   and offset of significant
                                   Strategic Plan                                        Framework Strategic
                                                            adverse effects
                                                                                                   Plan
                                                       The environmental              The FSP provides
                                                       protection policies should     assurance that
                                                       be strengthened to ensure      environmental issues will
                                                       that any potential use of      be taken into account in
                                                       Forest Estate, especially      relation to renewable
                                                       non-timber land uses, are      energy projects. It would
                                                       covered.                       be beneficial to reflect
                                                                                      this approach within the
                                                       The renewables policies        finalised FDSP and,
                                                       should be altered to state     given the emphasis on
                Overall decline    Renewable
                                                       that developments of this      increasing income from
                in biodiversity,   energy
                                                       nature will be steered         non-forest activities,
                sensitivity of     developments
                                                       away from areas of high        extend this approach to
                international,     have the
                                                       importance and sensitivity,    other forms of
                national and       potential to
                                                       and that all such schemes      development or land use
                locally            disturb sensitive
                                                       on FE land will conform to     change on the Forest
                important          species and
                                                       wider FCS social and           Estate.
                nature sites.      habitats
                                                       environmental standards.

                                                       The construction of
                                                       renewable energy
                                                       infrastructure is subject to
 Biodiversity




                                                       planning consent, and
                                                       often EIA, which will
                                                       convey an additional layer
                                                       of protection for
                                                       biodiversity.




                                                            81
                                                               Proposed measures for
                          Existing          Impact of                                         Implications of policies
 SEA                                                          the reduction/prevention
                         problem?         Forest District                                         contained in FES
issue                                                          and offset of significant
                                          Strategic Plan                                        Framework Strategic
                                                                   adverse effects
                                                                                                         Plan
                                                              Environmental protection       The FSP includes a
                                          Access and
                                                              policies should be             commitment to research
                                          young people
                                                              extended to cover all          the environmental impacts
                                          policies may
                                                              potential uses of the Forest   of recreation on the forest
                       Overall decline    lead to
                                                              Estate.                        environment
                       in biodiversity,   disturbance
                       sensitivity of     through
                                                              Access, heath and
                       international,     increased use of
                                                              community development
                       national and       the forest for
                                                              policies should be
                       locally            leisure and
                                                              expanded to ensure that
                       important          recreation
                                                              they promote sustainable
                       nature sites.      purposes
                                                              and responsible leisure
                                                              use of woods and forests
                       Potential          More effective
                                                              to minimise conflict with
                       climate            promotion of the
                                                              biodiversity aims.
                       change             leisure
     Biodiversity




                       impacts.           opportunities in
                                                              Policies should prioritise
                                          woodland may
                                                              public and non-motorised
                                          increase car use
                                                              transport wherever
                                          for access
                                                              possible to limit emissions.
                                                              The policy should be           The FSP provides more
                       Loss of            Portfolio
                                                              strengthened to ensure         detail on the criteria that
                       amenity,           analysis will
Population and human




                                                              that any change of land        will guide the disposal and
                       scenic value       have an
                                                              use or disposal of Forest      acquisition of land. Its
                       or tourist         uncertain effect
                                                              Estate land following          operating principles also
                       revenues as a      on local
                                                              portfolio analysis will have   define its broader social
                       result of land     communities,
                                                              no negative effects on         and environmental
                       use change         depending on
                                                              communities, and will be in    objectives.
                       from portfolio     the decisions
health




                                                              keeping with broader FCS
                       analysis           taken following
                                                              social and environmental
                       outcomes           the exercise
                                                              standards.
                                          Erosion by the
                                          sea is a            The policy of harvesting
                                          significant issue   trees from coastal areas in
                                          in coastal          advance of losses to the
                                          forests,            sea – while economically
                       Detrimental        particularly        prudent – may leave soils
                       effects on the     where they are      more vulnerable to wind
                       water and soil     planted on          and water erosion.
     Water and soil




                       environments       dynamic dune        Clarification is required to
                                          sands. Managed      ensure that forestry
                                          retreat approach    practice works with coastal
                                          will inevitably     processes, but does not
                                          result in loss of   hasten erosion events.
                                          soils.




                                                                   82
                                                          Proposed measures for
                     Existing         Impact of                                          Implications of policies
 SEA                                                     the reduction/prevention
                    problem?        Forest District                                         contained in FES
issue                                                     and offset of significant
                                    Strategic Plan                                        Framework Strategic
                                                              adverse effects
                                                                                                    Plan
                                                         A robust soil protection      The FSP includes a
                                                         policy should be added to     commitment to comply with
                                                         the FDSP to ensure that       the Forest Guidelines on
                                                         this most fundamental         water and soil and this
                                                         resource is safeguarded in    level of protection should
                                                         the course of any potential   be extended to other
                                                         development of the Forest     activities on the Forest
                                   Business
                                                         Estate.                       Estate.
                                   development
                                   policies are likely
                                                         Business development          The FSP indicates that
                                   to have a
                                                         policies should be            environmental issues will
                                   negative impact
                                                         amended to ensure that        be taken into consideration
                                   through the
                  Detrimental                            any enterprise or project     in relation to renewable
                                   promotion of
                  effects on the                         promoted or facilitated on    energy projects. This
                                   alternate uses of
                  water and soil                         FE land conforms to wider     protection should be
                                   Forest Estate
                  environments                           FCS social and                extended to other forms of
                                   land, including
                                                         environmental standards.      non-forestry activity on the
                                   renewable
                                                                                       Forest Estate.
                                   energy, leisure
                                                         The Plan should also
                                   and promoting
                                                         undertake not to expand
                                   small business
                                                         forestry onto high grade
                                   opportunities.
                                                         agricultural land, even
 Water and soil




                                                         where opportunities arise
                                                         as this is an important
                                                         strategic resource,
                                                         particularly in light of
                                                         potential climate change
                                                         effects.
                                                         A robust soil protection      The FSP includes a
                                                         policy should be added to     commitment to comply with
                                                         the FDSP to ensure that       the Forest Guidelines on
                                                         this most fundamental         water and soil and this
                                                         resource is safeguarded in    level of protection should
                                   Access policies
                                                         the course of any potential   be extended to other
                                   may have a
                                                         development of the Forest     activities on the Forest
                                   negative impact
                                                         Estate.                       Estate.
                  Detrimental      on soils through
                  effects on the   increased
                                                         Access and health policies    The FSP includes a
                  water and soil   erosion caused
                                                         should be amended to          commitment to research
                  environments     by higher visitor
                                                         promote sustainable and       the impacts of recreation
                                   traffic on the
                                                         responsible leisure use of    on the forest environment.
                                   path and ride
 Water and soil




                                                         woods and forests, and
                                   network.
                                                         ensure that infrastructure
                                                         is upgraded to meet visitor
                                                         needs and limit erosion
                                                         and runoff.




                                                             83
                                                Proposed measures for
                Existing     Impact of                                         Implications of policies
 SEA                                           the reduction/prevention
               problem?    Forest District                                        contained in FES
issue                                           and offset of significant
                           Strategic Plan                                       Framework Strategic
                                                    adverse effects
                                                                                         Plan
                                               Clearly, these effects
                           Renewable
                                               depend largely on the
                           energy/biomass
                                               location of such
                           development
                                               developments and their
                           could have
                                               proximity to fuel sources.
                           negative effects
             Falling air   through an
                                               The plan should therefore
             quality       increase in road
                                               promote local processing
                           transport of
                                               and use of locally-sourced
                           forest products
                                               material, as well as –
                           to processors
                                               where possible – more
                           and generating
                                               sustainable forms of
 Air




                           stations.
                                               transport.
                                               Leisure and recreation
                           Increased public
                                               facilities should be
                           access to the
                                               prioritised for woods and
             Falling air   Forest Estate
                                               forests close to major
             quality       may result in
                                               settlements to limit private
                           increased
                                               car use in accessing the
 Air




                           private car use.
                                               resource.
                                               This policy should be          The FSP indicates that
                                               revised to ensure that such    environmental issues will
                                               developments are steered       be taken into consideration
                                               away from areas of high        in relation to renewable
                                               landscape value and            energy projects.
                                               particular natural or
                                               cultural significance. The
                           The renewable       Plan should state that any
                           energy/wind         development on the Forest
             Potential     policy may result   Estate will conform to
             damage to     in visual           wider FCS social and
             landscape     intrusion if        environmental standards,
             quality       improperly sited    and have no detrimental
                           developments        effect on landscape
                           are promoted.       quality.

                                               Wind farms are subject to
                                               planning consent, and
 Landscape




                                               often require EIA, therefore
                                               an additional layer of
                                               protection is conferred in
                                               these cases.




                                                    84
                                                               Proposed measures for
                           Existing         Impact of                                          Implications of policies
 SEA                                                          the reduction/prevention
                          problem?        Forest District                                         contained in FES
issue                                                          and offset of significant
                                          Strategic Plan                                        Framework Strategic
                                                                   adverse effects
                                                                                                          Plan
                                                              The policy should be           The FSP indicates that
                                                              amended to ensure that         environmental issues will
                                         Support for
                                                              any business or project        be taken into consideration
                                         local
                                                              explicitly supported by the    in relation to renewable
                                         businesses
                                                              Forest District must           energy projects. This level
                        Potential        could result in
                                                              conform to FCS social and      of protection should
                        damage to        damage to the
                                                              environmental standards.       extended to other forms of
                        landscape        landscape,
                                                                                             non-forestry activity on the
                        quality          depending on
                                                              Environmental protection       Forest Estate.
 Landscape




                                         the location and
                                                              policies should be
                                         nature of the
                                                              extended to ensure
                                         enterprise.
                                                              coverage of all potential
                                                              uses of Forest Estate land.
                                         The promotion of     This policy should be          The FSP includes a
                                         greater              strengthened to state that     commitment to research
                                         involvement in       access and recreation will     the impacts of recreation
                                         woods and            be promoted and managed        on the forest environment.
                                         forests for          in a sustainable fashion
                        Potential
                                         young people         and will have no
                        damage to
                                         may affect           detrimental effect on
                        landscape
                                         landscape            landscape quality.
                        quality
                                         values through
 Landscape




                                         the development      The landscape quality
                                         of new               policy should be extended
                                         infrastructure or    to cover any potential use
                                         facilities.          of the Forest Estate.
                                                              The cultural heritage policy   The FSP includes a suite
                                                              should be strengthened to      of policies to conserve,
                                                              cover any potential use of     manage and interpret the
                                                              Forest Estate land.            historic environment. The
                                         Renewable                                           FSP renewables policy
                                         energy               The renewables policy          also states that
                                         developments         should be enhanced             environmental issues will
                                         have clear           through a statement which      be taken into account.
                        Potential        potential to         steers development away
                        damage to the    damage cultural      from areas of high cultural
                        fabric and/or    heritage directly,   heritage value and visual
                        setting of       through              sensitivity.
                        cultural         engineering
                        heritage sites   works, and           Cultural heritage sites are
 Historic environment




                                         indirectly,          afforded an additional
                                         through impacts      degree of protection in that
                                         on the setting of    renewables projects are
                                         monuments.           subject to planning
                                                              consent, in which impacts
                                                              on the historic environment
                                                              are fully considered – often
                                                              through EIA.




                                                                   85
                                                              Proposed measures for
                           Existing        Impact of                                         Implications of policies
 SEA                                                         the reduction/prevention
                          problem?       Forest District                                         contained in FES
issue                                                         and offset of significant
                                         Strategic Plan                                        Framework Strategic
                                                                  adverse effects
                                                                                                         Plan
                                                             Any large scale planting       The FSP includes a suite
                                                             initiative will inevitably     of policies to conserve,
                                                             present some level of          manage and interpret the
                                                             conflict with archaeological   historic environment.
                                                             sites. (Compliance with the
                                                             ‘Forests and Archaeology’
                                                             guidelines is assumed).
                                         New woodland,
                                         flood and
                                                             The cultural heritage policy
                                         catchment
                                                             should require full,
                                         management,
                                                             professional,
                                         habitat
                                                             archaeological survey
                                         networks and
                        Potential                            during the planning stage
                                         hardwood
                        damage to the                        of any forest expansion.
                                         timber policies
                        fabric and/or                        This will facilitate proper
                                         may conflict with
                        setting of                           protection and
                                         historic
                        cultural                             incorporation into forest
                                         environment
                        heritage sites                       design.
                                         objective by
                                         expanding
                                                             Policies should be
                                         woodland cover
                                                             expanded to state that no
                                         into previously
                                                             planting will be considered
 Historic environment




                                         un-forested
                                                             where there is likely to be
                                         areas.
                                                             significant negative
                                                             impacts on archaeological
                                                             sites, monuments or their
                                                             setting. The preservation
                                                             of coherent historic
                                                             landscapes should also be
                                                             prioritised.
                                                             The outcomes of these          The FSP includes a suite
                                         Business            policies depend largely on     of policies to conserve,
                                         development         the nature and location of     manage and interpret the
                                         policies may        businesses supported by        historic environment.
                                         result in more      the Forest District. The
                                         intensive use of    plan should therefore state
                                         the Forest          that any business
                        Potential
                                         Estate, causing     supported by the Forest
                        damage to the
                                         potential           District must comply with
                        fabric and/or
                                         conflicts with      wider FCS social and
                        setting of
                                         sites and           environmental standards
 Historic environment




                        cultural
                                         monuments.          and will have no negative
                        heritage sites
                                                             impact on the historic
                                         Current cultural    environment.
                                         heritage policy
                                         refers only to      The cultural heritage policy
                                         forestry uses of    should be expanded to
                                         FE land.            cover all potential uses of
                                                             Forest Estate land.




                                                                  86
                                                               Proposed measures for
                           Existing        Impact of                                          Implications of policies
 SEA                                                          the reduction/prevention
                          problem?       Forest District                                          contained in FES
issue                                                          and offset of significant
                                         Strategic Plan                                         Framework Strategic
                                                                   adverse effects
                                                                                                          Plan
                                                              These policies should be       The FSP includes a suite
                                         Access and
                                                              amended to promote             of policies to conserve,
                                         young people
                                                              sustainable access to and      manage and interpret the
 Historic environment




                                         policies may
                                                              enjoyment of cultural          historic environment.
                                         result in
                                                              heritage sites on the
                                         increased leisure
                                                              Forest Estate.
                                         use of the Forest
                                         Estate and the
                                                              The cultural heritage policy
                                         development of
                                                              should be expanded to
                                         recreation
                                                              cover all potential uses of
                                         facilities.
                                                              Forest Estate land.
                                                              The policy should be           The FSP includes a suite
                                                              revised to require full,       of policies to conserve,
                                                              professional,                  manage and interpret the
                                                              archaeological survey in       historic environment.
                                                              advance of any significant
                                                              forest operations (e.g.
                                                              large-scale ground
                                                              preparation, planting or
                                                              harvesting schemes) and
                                                              highlight the importance of
                                         The cultural
                                                              the ‘Forests and
                                         heritage policy
                                                              Archaeology guidelines’ in
                        Potential        lacks explicit
                                                              forest practice.
                        damage to the    references to
                        fabric and/or    methodologies
                                                              It would be advisable to
                        setting of       for the protection
                                                              develop a strategy for
                        cultural         and
                                                              managing the unscheduled
                        heritage sites   enhancement of
                                                              monuments on the Forest
                                         cultural heritage
                                                              Estate, in addition to the
                                         sites.
                                                              existing SAM management
                                                              plans.
 Historic environment




                                                              Opportunities for
                                                              interpretation and access
                                                              to sites of interest should
                                                              be explored to improve the
                                                              awareness and
                                                              understanding of woodland
                                                              cultural heritage.

7.2.                    The Framework Strategic Plan therefore addresses most of the areas of
                        potential impact identified by the SEA of the Moray Forest District Strategic
                        Plan. While it is likely that some of these will remain as national level policy
                        issues, it is recommended that wherever practical, these safeguards should be
                        reflected in modifications to the FDSP prior to their final adoption.

7.3.                    The remaining issues are as follows:
                           o Including a policy which ensure that environmental and social issues
                              are taken into account in relation to all non-forestry activities;



                                                                   87
o Inclusion of a policy clarifying the objectives of land disposal and
  acquisition;
o Inclusion of a policy to consider the environmental effects of visitors
  travelling to and from the forest estate;
o Consideration of the timber haulage implications of biomass cropping;
o Clarification of the policy on felling in coastal areas.




                               88
8.      SEA INDICATORS

8.1.    Under Regulation 21 of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and
        Programmes (Scotland) Regulations, the Responsible Authority (in this case,
        Moray Forest District) is required to monitor any significant environmental
        effects of the Plan. The identification of issues that should be monitored is
        therefore informed by the assessment of environmental effects of both the
        Moray FDSP and the national level Framework Strategic Plan which will be
        read alongside it.
FSP Indicators
Climate
Area of new planting that is Kyoto compliant
(net stocked area on land that was devoid of trees in 1990)
Changes in the net stocked area of the national forest estate
(as reported for annual valuation)
Annual net Carbon Saving (as measured by Greener-ways project)
Biomass for heat/power production (tonnes sold per annum)
Area of short rotation coppice
Timber
Actual Roundwood Production (Timber sales per financial year converted to tonnes)
Forecast wood availability from the national forest estate for a 5 year period (National Production
figures)
Area of coniferous woodland
Area of broadleaved forest assessed as timber producing
Use of improved nursery stock
Volume of certified timber from national forest estate (% of timber sold that is certified against
UKWAS)
Portion of area planned for thinning that has been thinned per annum. (Sub Compartment Database)
Business Development
Continuous improvement in Safety
(Lost Time Incidents for forest workers on the national forest estate)
Employment in the forestry related sector
(FES direct employees, Full Time Equivalent (FTE) contractors as estimated by Forest Districts)
Staff turnover rates in FES
(Total Years of Service for all employees / Total number (FTE) of employees)
Number of Modern Apprenticeships
Non-Timber Revenue (% of revenue generated from non-timber sales)
Community Development
Number of schools involved in woodland based learning on the national forest estate
Number of community-group partnerships involved in owning or managing woodland from the national
forest estate
Number and area of land parcels sold or leased
Access and Health
Access to the national forest estate
Number of visits to the national forest estate.
(Supplied by Forest Districts using a combination of vehicle counters and observations)
Independent satisfaction rating of woodland recreation on the national forest estate
Number of formal ‘volunteer days’ on the national forest estate (Forest Districts to estimate)
Number of Health Boards in Scotland actively engaged with FCS in pursuing use of the national forest
estate for health.
Environmental Quality
Number of forestry operations or activities on the national forest estate leading to direct pollution of the
water environment.


                                                     89
(Number of incidents leading to SEPA issuing an infringement notice)
Percentage of woodlands covered by approved Forest Design Plans.
Percentage of woodland area managed under low impact silvicultural systems.
Number of agreed Management Plans for Scheduled Monuments on the national forest estate.
Number of recorded sites in the National Monuments Record of Scotland included in approved Forest
Design Plans.
Third party certification of performance against UKWAS
Biodiversity
Area of native species on the national forest estate
Native woodland expansion.
Area of PAWS on the national forest estate with a long-term plan for restoration.

Percentage of SSSIs on the national forest estate in favourable or unfavourable recovering condition
Progress against Habitat Action Plan targets for native woodland condition and restoration on the
national forest estate
Area of woodland on the national forest estate with active deer management plans.
Area of woodland on the national forest estate converted to priority open ground habitat.
Loss of ancient, semi-natural woodland on the national forest estate to development.
Area managed with an emphasis on BAP habitats and species.


It is recommended that the suite of indicators identified in the Framework Strategic
Plan are employed to monitor the environmental effects of the Forest District
Strategic Plan. In addition, it is recommended that the following area is subject to
monitoring:

    •   Visitor travel to and from the Forest Estate for recreation. This could be
        achieved by a combination of samples visitor/vehicle counts and visitor
        surveys. It could form part of the FSP commitment to research, in partnership
        with other organisations, the environmental effects of forest recreation.

    •   Timber transport associated with biomass and woodfuel production.




                                                  90

								
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