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NEWS RELEASE No: 161783 MARCH 2014

Sir Harry Studholme appointed Chair of Forestry Commission

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Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission

Her Majesty the Queen, acting on the advice of Ministers, has appointed Sir Harry Studholme as Chair of the Board of Forestry Commissioners. He will serve a term of three years.

Sir Harry, who has been a non-executive Forestry Commissioner since 2007, Interim Chair from January 2013 to January 2014 and a woodland owner for more than 20 years, said,

“It is a great honour to be appointed Chair of the Forestry Commission; especially so at a time of such opportunity for and threat to the forests and woods of England and Scotland.

“Last year the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Forestry in England framed an exciting future for England’s trees, woods and forests. Trees matter to people in Great Britain. Public and private-sector forests and woods provide a wealth of social and environmental benefits, all made possible by economically sustainable forestry. The Forestry Commission, both through a refreshed public forest estate and the work of Forest Services, lies at the heart of this agenda.

“Our forests in Scotland too are a showcase of what can be achieved; mitigating climate change and benefitting the environment while providing economic and social benefits to communities.

“Set against this opportunity are the increasing number of damaging pathogens that threaten our trees. The work of our Forest Research agency is critical in developing and communicating our response.

“Over the past year as interim Chair one huge privilege has been to work both with the dedicated, resourceful and expert staff of the Forestry Commission and with the wider community of this country who love and care for our trees. From tree officers in our cities to contractors in our most remote forests; from nurserymen to growers, timber professionals and processors of our timber, I look forward to continuing to work with this exceptional community.”

Further information about the Board of Forestry Commissioners is available at

Sir Harry Studholme has owned and managed forests in South West England for more 20 years. He was Deputy Chair of the Independent Panel on Forestry, which reported in July 2012 on the future of forestry in England.

His current commitments include chairing the Phaunos Timber Fund, a quoted investment trust owning forestry across five continents.

Previous posts include Chair of the South West Regional Development Agency from 2009 to 2012; and Chair of the Finding Sanctuary project, working with environmentalists and the fishing industry on proposals for marine conservation, from 2007 to 2011. He is an engineering graduate of Cambridge University, a Chartered Accountant (FCA), a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and an accredited Commercial Mediator (CEDAR).

Notes to Editor:

  1. Sir Harry’s appointment has been made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Defra emphasised that all appointments are made on merit, and political activity plays no part in the selection process. In accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement to make public any political activity declared by appointees. Sir Harry Studholme has not declared any current political activity.

  2. The Board of Forestry Commissioners oversees the work of the Forestry Commission on behalf of Ministers. The Commission's National Committees for England and Scotland carry out some of the functions of the Commissioners at country level.

  3. Following a recommendation by the Independent Panel on Forestry, the Government will bring forward legislation to transfer public forest land in England managed by the Forestry Commission to a new management organisation. Work has begun to prepare for this.

  4. Natural Resources Wales is the new environmental management and regulatory body established on 1 April 2013 by the Welsh Government. It replaced Forestry Commission Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Environment Agency Wales.

  5. Media Contacts: Stuart Burgess, 0117 372 1073 or Katrina Podlewska, 0117 906 6030