This year, the forecasted gross income from leases from Scotland’s national forest and land is about £20 million. Of that, about £12 million is from leases of land to wind farm developers and operators. Just last week, a further two new wind farms have been announced by Scottish Power Renewables for developments on Scotland’s national forest and land in Argyll and Caithness.
Unfortunately, Forestry and Land Scotland does not hold jobs data for those who lease land on Scotland’s national forest and land. However, renewable energy projects create employment and local economic activity, as well as providing annual local community benefit payments in excess of £3 million.
Yes, I know where it is, Deputy First Minister. We visited Pitlochry because we had tickets for the enchanted forest show, which was excellent, well attended and very well organised. Will the minister join me in complimenting the people who run the enchanted forest, and Forestry and Land Scotland for its involvement in the project? Will she encourage Forestry and Land Scotland to look at the possibility of such a show taking place in other areas in Scotland?
At the risk of upsetting the Deputy First Minister, I must admit that I have not had the opportunity to attend the enchanted forest, but I will definitely make the effort to do so. I am happy to join Richard Lyle in commending the work that Forestry and Land Scotland does with communities across Scotland to encourage and enable events such as the enchanted forest. I also commend the work that is done by the community interest company to put the event together—it is an innovative and stunning use of forestry.
Forestry and Land Scotland actively supports such work, and it is open to proposals from groups and communities that are looking to develop and deliver such events.