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A new system for ensuring our woodlands remain safe places for people to visit is likely to have another benefit – securing jobs in the forestry industry.
Forestry Commission Wales, which looks after 126,000 hectares (311,000 acres) of woodland owned by the Welsh Government, has devised a new way of working with contractors that has given them the confidence to invest in their futures.
The new system, called the Tree Works Services Framework, gives continuity of work to FC Wales’s preferred contractors to undertake a variety of minor tasks relating to forest safety.
It means FC Wales now has a list of contractors it can call on at short notice to carry out work such as felling or de-limbing dangerous trees, or clearing trees that have fallen across roads or forest trails.
One of the first jobs undertaken under the new agreement was the clearance of larch infected with the tree disease, Phytophthora ramorum, at Garwnant visitor centre by Lampeter Tree Services.
FC Wales local area manager Paul Dann said, “Tree works services basically covers small-scale emergency work which wouldn't be covered by conventional harvesting and which is beyond the scope of our teams.
“The framework agreement allows us to have contractors dealing with issues within 24 hours of notification, so dangerous trees or obstructions or – as in the case at Garwnant – diseased trees can be dealt with extremely quickly.
“That's of benefit for public safety and convenience, and should secure rural jobs and boost the local economy.”
The Tree Works Services Framework includes both arboricultural services (tree surgery) and chainsaw work in the forest for such jobs as clearing windblown trees from paths and forest roads.
It provides continuity of work to the 18 businesses – a mixture of multi-nationals, small to medium enterprises, family businesses and sole traders – who were successful in a procurement exercise covering the whole of Wales.
Islwyn Williams, director of Lampeter Tree Services, said, “As a small family business, we were delighted to be the primary supplier in South Wales for tree surgery.
“This framework agreement has secured the employment of one of my arboricultural teams and, if demand increases, I hope to grow my business and take on more staff.”
Mark Davies, owner of M&D Services, who were the highest ranked framework supplier in South Wales to provide forest chainsaw services, was also delighted.
He said, “This has been a big boost to my business. It has secured the employment of the six people who work for me and has given me the confidence to invest in more specialist equipment.”
The framework, which was introduced last month, also includes the Countryside Council for Wales and Environment Agency Wales and means those organisations can jointly procure a service with FC Wales.
Caption: Lampeter Tree Services staff fell infected trees at Garwnant under the new Tree Works Services Framework.
NOTES TO EDITORS
A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
For more information on the Tree Works Services Framework, contact Paul Dann on 0300 068 0278, mobile 07789651026.
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email email@example.com