The Forestry Commission is both a Government Department and a statutory body with a board of Commissioners. The board consists of a Chair and up to 10 other Forestry Commissioners, who are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of Ministers.
The board meets four times per year and its agenda and papers are published.
The Commissioners themselves have a number of specific statutory duties and powers, summarised in the Forestry Act as:
- promoting the interests of forestry
- the development of afforestation
- the production and supply of timber and other forest products.
In practice, these mainly relate to providing incentives (grants), regulation though controls on felling, plant health issues and managing the public forest estate.
The Commissioners have a legal duty to seek a reasonable balance between the production and supply of timber and the interests of conservation. In promoting the multiple benefits of forestry, they also seek to take careful account of people's needs and wishes, including local communities.
As forestry is a devolved matter, the Commissioners report separately to Westminster Ministers and Scottish Ministers.
Minister for England and GB matters: Dan Rogerson
Minister for Scotland: Paul Wheelhouse
The Board of Commissioners:
• Ensure that Commissioners’ statutory duties are fulfilled
• Oversee changes to our role or governance structure
• Delegate to the England National Committee such functions as are required to support the Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy in England
• Delegate to the Scotland National Committee such functions as are required to support the National Committee’s role in ensuring that the Ministers policies are delivered efficiently and effectively
• Oversee Central Services (services including Human Resources; Finance and Accounting Services; Internal Audit; Information Systems; Inventory, Forecasting and Operational Support; Corporate and Forestry Support; and Forest Research)
• Recommend the Corporate Plan for cross border activities, and the Forest Research Corporate Plan, to the Secretary of State, Defra
• Maintain an overview of corporate risk