27 JUNE 2012
NEWS RELEASE No: 15523
Sustainable forestry strong in England
Latest figures published by Forestry Commission England show our woodlands are incredibly well protected and sustainable forestry remains strong.
According to records, just 0.04 per cent of trees felled in England were done illegally without a felling licence. Conservation habitats, such as heathland, have been restored from commercial plantations whilst keeping a slowly expanding wooded area overall. A thriving timber industry has increased domestic supply as imports have fallen.
Simon Hodgson, Forestry Commission England Chief Executive said:
“For the first time we have been able to publish a suite of new statistics to show what is happening to woods and forests in England and how Forestry Commission England is performing.
“The overall picture is great news for us. Protection of our woods and forests is strong with miniscule amounts of illegal felling. The general public are very much our eyes and ears on the ground and we are always heartened at the public’s willingness to report suspected illegal activity and we are developing an online system to make this quicker, easier and more accurate.
“We see domestic timber supplies increasing while imports shrink and a growing woodfuel network all of which boosts the local green economy. Commitments to restore and recreate conservation habitats from private and public plantations are being met while we see the overall area of woodland expanding. The Forestry Commission remains a leader as a significant land manager in the care of the Engalnd’s best wildlife conservation sites - Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – with 99.6% in target condition.
“All that said significant challenges remain. Everyone agrees we need much greater growth in creating new woodlands and we are working to significantly increase long term investment from the private sector. We are working to mitigate the threats from a changing climate to trees in the future from new pests and diseases and poor growing conditions. Last, but most certainly not least, is the appalling record of Health and Safety in the forestry sector: skills and training are high but the number of fatalities in a small industry must be tackled.
“We are already working with the sector to implement recommendations from the Forestry Regulation Task Force and look forward to receiving the Independent Forestry Panel’s final report to Government.”
Notes to Editor
- The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england
- The Corporate Plan 2012-2013 and indicators document are available online.
- The decline in import volumes and the consistent growth of UK produced consumption has resulted in the share of sawn softwood consumption supplied by UK producers to climb to an estimated 41% in 2011, from 26% in 2007. Source: Timber Utilisation Statistics 2010 & 2011 Estimates (PDF 152KB).
- On 27 October 2011 The Task Force submitted their final report and recommendations “Challenging Assumptions, Changing Perceptions” (6MB PDF file) to Defra Ministers on 27 October 2011 (see Oct 2011 Press Release).
On 27 March 2012, the Government published its response to the Task Force’s report (300K) (see March 2012 Press Release).
- The Independent Forestry Panel was established on 17 March 2011 by the Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman, to advise government on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England.
- Media Contact: Stuart Burgess, 0117 372 1073, 07785 748351, firstname.lastname@example.org