With the value of the sector to the Scottish economy now at £1BN, northern forestry professionals gather at Inverness

An audience of around 60 north forestry professionals will gather at Inverness Caledonian Thistle Stadium tomorrow, 3rd March 2016, to hear how the future is shaping up for the sector.

Three speakers will provide updates on the economic value of forestry in Scotland; progress towards driving up health and safety standards in the industry; and local forestry priorities for the north.

The Highlands and Islands Forest Industry Cluster [HIFIC] is behind the event, aiming to stimulate a great deal of discussion on the latest thinking around important subjects in the forestry sector.

The event will provide a valuable insight from the head of business development at Forestry Commission Scotland into the findings of a key economic survey launched later in 2015 on the value of Scotland’s forestry sector.

The chief executive of the Forest Industry Safety Accord [FISA] will provide an update on the latest thinking relating to health, safety and welfare initiatives.

The north Conservator of Forestry Commission Scotland will then address issues affecting the industry at a more local level.

A wide range of forestry workers, from harvesters, processors and contractors to estate personnel, managers and public sector employees will attend the event.

The new chairman of HIFIC, Johnny Dean, says: ‘The recently published report by Forestry Commission Scotland is first on the agenda and with a headline figure putting the value of the Scottish forest economy at around £1billion, we will be interested to hear what this means for the industry.

‘The latest thinking on health and safety will help north forestry businesses be better prepared on employee welfare issues; and hearing from Forestry Commission Scotland/Forest Enterprise representatives about their local objectives and priorities for 2016, should provide a fitting conclusion to the evening.’

Highlands and Islands Enterprise [HIE] has provided core funding to HIFIC to deliver eight events over a two-year period, as well as the services of a facilitator to help organise these.

Caoimhe McCarthy, HIE’s development manager, energy infrastructure and supply chain, says: ‘Having focussed on fairly specific subjects like technology and pollution in 2015, HIFIC has returned in 2016 with a wider mix of relevant subjects on national and local forestry issues.

‘This enables those attending to benefit from a diverse range of information and knowledge about the latest developments in the forest industry that they can apply to their business or organisation.’

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