SCOTTISH forestry estates have been put up for sale with a total price tag of more than £30 million as the drive to cut carbon dioxide emissions stokes interest in the sector.
Goldcrest Land & Forestry is seeking offers over £34m in total for seven estates in areas stretching from the Scottish Borders to Angus.
The biggest is the 1,025 acre Westloch Forest estate near Peebles in the Scottish Borders, which is expected to fetch more than £11m.
The smallest is a 95 acre estate in North Lanarkshire that includes young crops, maturing timber and land suitable for afforestation. It is for sale at offers over £1.35m.
The sale comes as the UK forestry industry enjoys what Goldcrest described as a bumper year.
Jon Lambert, Partner at Goldcrest, said sales have already overtaken the £200 million achieved last year. He reckons the total for the calendar year is likely to be between £300m and £400m amid “extremely robust” interest in British forestry.
The strength of the interest partly reflects expectation that global demand for timber will remain strong in coming years. Housebuilders in the UK will need huge amounts of timber to deliver on their plans.
“Purchasers believe we will see future timber price inflation and are prepared to pay for some of that upfront,” said Mr Lambert.
Demand is also being driven by growing interest in forestry among investors on environmental grounds.
“Businesses and corporations seeking to improve their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials have entered the market in high numbers, driven by factors such as generating carbon credits from native broadleaved woodland creation and peatland restoration,” said Mr Lambert.
He added: “Undoubtedly, the biggest story this year has been the insatiable appetite and rocketing prices for bare ground suitable for tree planting, an upward trend that has characterised the market in recent years … Grazing hill ground that was worth £3,500/hectare five years ago is now comfortably at £14,000/hectare.”