SCOTLAND'S rural affairs ministers hailed the "expertise" of Scotland's chief forester as she was re-appointed to the role for another four years.

Dr Helen McKay's role includes providing technical and professional advice to the Scottish Government on Forestry matters and delivering policy, along with acting as head of profession for public sector foresters and promoting professional standards in the public sector. 

The position of the chief forester for Scotland is a requirement of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018.

The National:

Dr McKay is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, and a member of the Institute of Chartered environmentalists. She holds a BSC in Ecological Science, as well as a PHD in from Edinburgh University. She was awarded an OBE for her services to forest science and forestry.

She said: “My previous four years in the role have been extremely rewarding.

"It has also been challenging – I have been working with people in many different sectors to provide the best possible forestry education and training as well as promoting forestry as a worthwhile career for young people and career changers.

“I am keen to continue this collaborative work with other agencies and organisations so we can attract more people into forestry and develop skills right across the industry.”

She  was first appointed in the role in 2020 and held the position for the maximum term of four years before the post must be openly re-advertised again.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon praised the chief forester.

She said that: “Her scientific expertise and knowledge of the various strands of forestry is extremely valuable, especially at a time when forestry’s profile and relevance to society has never been higher.”

Doctor McKay will start her re-appointment on the first of August this year and will spend around two days a week carrying out her duties.