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Regional forestry leader appointed in the West Midlands

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Prof John Moverley

A new leader has been appointed to head up the forestry advisory committee for the West Midlands.

Professor John Moverley has this month taken up his post as Chair of the Forestry Commission’s Regional Advisory Committee (RAC).

John is a former Chief Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society and was Principal and Chief Executive of two agriculture and horticulture colleges spanning some 18 years. He has considerable experience of chairmanship across a wide range of areas to match his extensive track record in land management and passion for countryside matters.

With a first class honours degree in agriculture from Cambridge University, his career has included senior positions spanning the commercial, public and charitable sectors. Alongside this, he has held numerous director and chair appointments at local, regional and national level, and has also been a Board member of a Regional Development Agency.

He has written a range of papers and articles on agricultural, educational and rural development issues, and he has travelled extensively overseas on business assignments. He was awarded the OBE in the 2004 New Year’s Honours list for his work in education

Regional Advisory Committees (RACs) bring together partners and advise the Forestry Commission, through its Regional Directors, on the implementation of forestry and related policies at a regional level. The nine RAC chairs also collectively advise the Forestry Commission directly on matters of national significance.

RACs play a vital role in the delivery of the Forestry Commission’s mission to protect and expand Britain's forests and woodlands and increase their value to society and the environment. The committees play a particularly important role in the preparation and delivery of Regional Forestry Strategies. They also provide feedback and advice on the regional dimensions to the Government’s Strategy for England’s Trees, Woods and Forests.

Bill Heslegrave, Regional Director for the Forestry Commission in the West Midlands, said,

“Professor Moverley has immense knowledge and experience in land and rural management issues. He brings to the table extensive chairmanship expertise which should prove of considerable benefit to the RAC and to the Forestry Commission at a local and national level.”

Professor Moverley added:

 “I welcome the opportunity to play a role in forestry issues in the West Midlands. I see key decisions for the future requiring the need to maintain the right balance between commercial activity, recreational use, education and training, sustainability and the environment. I look forward to working with members of the committee and regional staff.’’

1. The Forestry Commission is a 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.

2. RACs are statutory committees and members are appointed under the Forestry Act 1967. The RACs advise the Commission, through our regional directors on the implementation of forestry and related policies in each region.

3. Their function is to:

advise the Commission on the implementation at regional level of national forest strategies and associated policies, together with any expressions of these in regional forestry frameworks;

advise on a small number of specific topics and issues, which Commissioners will select, focusing on regional frameworks;

conciliate in all disputed applications for grant aid, felling licences or approvals of plans of operations under a closed grant scheme where there is a sustained objection by a statutory body; and advise the Commission on other applications when asked to do so by the Regional Director

inform the Commission of matters of regional or local concern on which the RAC considers it necessary to comment.

4.  All RAC chairs are appointed on merit following an open competition.

Chris Johnson, Forestry Commission England Press Officer on 01223 346034, email