Amidst this world of uncertainty, one constant still appears to be the strength of the forestry and planting land market in Scotland.
We are seeing very strong interest in any forestry property coming to the market with a number of competitive bids being made at closing dates. It appears that many investors remain confident that forestry or planting ground is a safer place to invest than other options open to them at present. The continuing tax benefits of owning forestry remain attractive and whatever tax changes may be forthcoming in light of all that is going on around us, do not seem to be detracting from the level of interest in this asset class.
The potential for carbon sequestration and the trading of carbon credits has also intensified the interest in acquiring existing forestry or planting ground in Scotland.
Scotland appears to have a more favourable attitude to planting permission than England which is leading to continuing and increased interest from investors south of the border and from mainland Europe who are attracted to Scotland for that reason.
We are aware of many hill farming business owners who are being approached by and are entering into sale agreements with investors relating to planting ground which can command prices significantly in excess of the agricultural value of that hill ground where the proposed use is for planting.
Jon Lambert, Senior Director at forestry agents John Clegg & Co has commented to us that:
“In my 27 years of handling sales of forestry and land appropriate for tree planting throughout Scotland and many parts of England and Wales I have never seen such strong demand from individuals and institutional buyers. Yes, forestry is currently fashionable; politically, environmentally and economically and you only need to look at the fundamentals to see why. The UK imports 70% of its timber requirements the biggest global importer after China, we simply need to grow more timber. Conifers lock up some 150 – 200 tonnes/hectare and broad leaves 350 tonnes/hectare of carbon during their lifetime. These two factors alone explain why all government parties were so enthusiastic and supportive of the industry back at the General election in December 2019 and why the Chancellor is currently steering considerable resource into the industry.”
If you have any queries on forestry or planting ground, please contact one of our Land and Property Partners.