Martin Whitfield MSP for South Scotland and Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray MP have visited Glennon Brothers’ Windymains sawmill near Humbie, and Alba Trees nursery, near Tranent, to see what ‘green prosperity’ looks like on the ground.

Forestry and wood processing is already one of the UK’s greenest sectors, as trees remove carbon from the atmosphere as they grow and modern forest design ensures a range of societal and environmental benefits are delivered in managed forests. The carbon removed by growing trees is then stored when trees are harvested to make wood products.

The visits offered Mr Whitfield and Mr Murray a chance to see how committing to supporting the UK forest industries in future can also help deliver more green jobs and growth. In Scotland alone, forestry and wood processing already supports in excess of 25,000 jobs and contributes around £1 billion every year to the economy.

Speaking after the visits, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“As a local MSP I am pleased to stand up for East Lothian businesses in the Scottish Parliament and ensure the Scottish Government listens to their concerns and responds to ensure they have all means necessary to ensure future success.

“Green jobs across the UK must be a priority and I am really pleased to see East Lothian is ahead of the game with industry-leading companies that are continuing to invest and provide good-quality green jobs for the future generations.”

At Windymains, Scott Shiells, Head of Group Operations for Glennon Brothers, said:

“Like other manufacturing businesses, recent years have seen real challenges with the pandemic and war in Ukraine affecting global trade.  However, we have continued to make significant investments at Windymains to respond to growing demand for fencing, decking and other timber products.

“We need reassurance from the UK Government that in delivering targets for tree planting it will provide the commercial timber supplies we need in future to continue to invest and ideally to reduce the UK’s need for ever-increasing imports of timber.”

Craig Turner, Chief Executive of Alba Trees which grows over 30 million young trees a year at its nursery near Tranent, added:

“Government tree planting targets are important to our business as they provide the framework in which we operate and plan for future growth.  It’s great to see political parties recognise the huge public benefits that planting more trees can bring to the economy, society and the environment. 

“However, we need realistic targets, agreed with input from our sector, that offer greater long-term certainty and a stable environment for business planning.  We are proud to grow so many of the UK’s new trees here in East Lothian and with the appropriate support from the government, there is no reason that success cannot continue.”