Scottish Ministers designated the Forestry Commission as a responsible authority, with associated duties to reduce overall flood risk under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009. In Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland exercises flood risk-related functions on behalf of the commissioners through policy, regulation and grant support, with action on the National Forest Estate directed by Forest Enterprise Scotland.
Forestry Commission Scotland has contributed to the preparation of flood risk management strategies and local plans as required by the Flood Risk Management Act. These will be published in December 2015 and June 2016 respectively.
The Act also requires that flood plans take account of natural flood management measures, where the landscape and natural features are used to slow down and store flood water. Targeted woodland creation is part of these measures.
In particular, in 2015, Forestry Commission Scotland launched the opportunity mapping project that identifies areas in priority catchments in Scotland where woodland creation has the greatest potential to reduce flooding and diffuse pollution. Targeted support to deliver this work is available under the Scottish Rural Development Programme’s ‘Woodlands for Water’ grant.
Forestry Commission Scotland is also contributing to the revision of the UK Forestry Standard on forests and water. The revision will take into account the new duties for reducing overall flood risk in a forestry context.
The forestry industry has developed advice which highlights how productive private woodland can reduce the likelihood of floods. The report is available at http://www.confor.org.uk/Upload/Documents/37_TheRoleofProductiveWoodlandsinWaterManagementConforMarch2015.pdf.