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Change at the top for the Forestry Commission in the north of England

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james sipmson

The Forestry Commission has announced who will take the reins as Forest Management Director for the North England District. They will be responsible for the Public Forest Estate in Northumberland, Cumbria, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Lancashire.

James Simpson, has worked for the Forestry Commission before in various roles and takes up his post in November.

James said:

“I am really excited about taking on the North England job; it’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of a great team and contribute to a bright future for England’s Public Forest Estate.

Simon Hodgson, Chief Executive for Forest Enterprise England, who has overall responsibility for the Public Forest Estate across the country said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to find a successor to Graham Gill, the current Forest Management Director, quickly so that we can have a smooth transition for this very important role nationally and locally.

“The North England District is important to people and the environment while supporting the local economy by boosting tourism and creating jobs. It includes the award-winning Kielder Forest, England’s largest timber producing forest; Grizedale which is internationally renowned for its outdoor sculptures; Whinlatter, England’s only mountain forest and Hamsterley, County Durham’s largest forest.

“I congratulate James who has a wealth of experience and I wish Graham all the best for his retirement.  Graham has undoubtedly put Kielder Water and Forest on the map as one of the country’s finest tourist destinations and successfully managed the vital contribution of the forests in northern England to the rural economy.”


Notes to Editor

  1. Forestry Commission England manages over 250,000 hectares of Public Forest Estate for conservation, recreation and timber production. North England Forest District is responsible for the public forests in Cumbria, County Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

    Kielder Water and Forest Park won Gold at the 2013 Visit England Tourism Awards.

  2. James Simpson has over 25 years’ career experience with the Forestry Commission which includes a secondment to the Scottish Government and a recent sabbatical, living and working in the Czech Republic. He was Head of Delivery and Regions in Forestry Commission Scotland, based in Edinburgh from 2006 to 2012 where he led on all forestry sector rural development grant aid and regulation. Before that he was Head of Forest Planning for Forest Enterprise Scotland (2003-2006) and Forest District Manager for the Scottish Borders District (2000 – 2003).

  3. Media Contact: Stuart Burgess, 0300 067 4073,