Cabinet Secretary visits Aberdeenshire moor project that aims to make ‘major contribution’ to Net Zero journey

Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon on her visit to Glen Dye Moor, Aberdeenshire. (Photo: Stuart Nicol)

THE Scottish Government’s Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, has visited one of Scotland’s most ambitious peatland restoration, forestry and woodland creation projects and has heard how the scheme will make a major contribution to tree planting and carbon capture targets.

Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, visited the Glen Dye Moor Project in Aberdeenshire which expects to capture over 1.4 million tonnes of carbon over its lifetime.

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Par Equity (‘Par’), the Edinburgh-based forestry investment fund manager, and Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc, established the project which is being implemented by Scottish Woodlands Ltd with the support of the Confederation of Forestry Industries (Confor).

Ms Gougeon met the project partners on Glen Dye moor and toured site which extends to 6,356 hectares (c.15,700 acres) and sits to the eastern edge of the Grampian Mountains and the Cairngorms National Park, approximately 10 miles south of Banchory in Aberdeenshire.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to see this landscape sized woodland creation and peatland restoration scheme in its early stages of development.   

“Importantly, the visit also provided me with further insight into the care and consideration that a scheme of this size and complexity can face. I was therefore particularly interested to hear about the stakeholder consultation to date, local employment opportunities, and the potential to facilitate education and recreation on the site.

“Added to this, the Glen Dye scheme has the potential to make a major contribution towards Net Zero, whilst also delivering important biodiversity benefits.”

Tom Croy, Investment Director, Par Equity, said: “We are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary could see for herself how this project offers a tremendous opportunity to make a major contribution to tree planting, carbon capture and commercial forestry targets. The partners involved are driving forward this project as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive, Confor, said: “There are few projects that offer the same potential across commercial forestry, native woodland creation and peatland restoration as Glen Dye. This is a scheme that is entirely in keeping with the Scottish Government’s own objectives on the journey to net zero.”

Neil Crookston, Regional Director, Scottish Woodlands, said: “The feedback from our consultation has been very positive and we look forward to making real strides in getting tree planting proposals approved as soon as possible as we take forward the project.”

Following extensive public and statutory consultation, applications are being made to undertake significant peatland restoration work across c.1800 hectares and new tree planting across c.3000 hectares, comprising up to 1,000 hectares of productive conifer and 2,000 hectares of native woodland.

Par and Aviva Investors established an investment fund to acquire the 6,300 hectare site at Glen Dye Moor, with the project forming part of Aviva Investors’ focus on decarbonising its real assets portfolios.

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