Sustainability and woodlands. It’s an obvious association – trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen and the Scottish Government has set ambitious targets for commercial tree planting. In addition to ensuring that there is no future ‘timber gap’ for industry it also recognises the environmental benefits.

The current 10,000 hectares a year woodland creation target remains until 2020-2021 when there will be a stepped increase to 15,000 ha by 2024-2025.

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This is good news but Derek MacDonald, joint managing director of Newton Property Factors, believes a further positive step would be the Scottish Government endorsing this kind of initiative in residential developments.

“Having the government give encouragement to owners of these housing developments for their endeavours would be very welcome and appreciated,” he says.

Tree planting and creating carbon stores, he adds, is one of several ambitious projects that form part of Newton’s multi-pronged initiative which sets out clear and achievable objectives in its 2020 Green Vision for ecological improvement.

A higher percentage of its customers than at any time before own property in shared new build housing developments with large swathes of amenity grounds, MacDonald explains.

“Many of these have areas which are perfect for tree planting. Collectively, our customers have hundreds of acres of unused ground which can be put to good use for tree planting and we see a real opportunity to make a positive impact on the climate”.

An example is in Glasgow’s Maryhill, where after receiving an appointment to a flatted development Newton worked with the homeowners and drew up a plan to plant out sections of the communal grounds with tree saplings.

Working in tandem with the Woodlands Trust, which provided the trees, Newton’s contractors arranged to plant out the unused areas of the development free of charge.

“The impact on the look and feel of the development was immediate and this will only improve over time as the trees mature,” says MacDonald.

“Through this initiative, most homeowners will not have to pay anything for planting tree saplings and the benefits that the planting brings, both to the look and feel of the local environment and the bigger picture means that it really is a win-win situation.

“A whole new generation of Scots is being brought up in new-build housing developments who can be inspired and influenced by what they see happening on their doorstep, not just in a remote field somewhere up north.”

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The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change
partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email

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A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government oversees environmental regulation, monitors and reports on the state of the environment, raises awareness of environmental issues, and resolves environmental harms.

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Organiser of conferences and events aimed at addressing the current carbon reduction position, enabling those leading and driving policies and proposals to share their vision, and highlighting Scotland as the best place in which to invest in low-carbon businesses.

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The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is helping make Scotland the best place in the world to educate, to research and to innovate. Investing around £1.8 billion of public money each year, SFC’s funding enables Scotland’s colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities for over half a million people.

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A Scottish Property Factor with nationwide coverage. Newton have ambitious plans to help future proof their customers’ properties, making them greener, cleaner and more energy efficient resulting in significant savings in running costs.

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The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) is recognised by Government as the voice of the bus and coach industry, and the focus for consultation on national and international legislation, local regulations, operational practices and engineering standards.