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Indicators for people and forests

View the people and forests chapter of 'UK Indicators of Sustainable Forestry', as published in October 2002.

Any recent developments, and links to additional information, are shown below.

E1. Visits to woodland

  • Our statistics web pages contain more information about visits to woodland, including outdoor recreation surveys, the Public Opinion of Forestry Survey and Forestry Commission Visitor Surveys.

E2. Extent of open public access

  • A report was published in May 2005 for a Scottish study "Investigating environmental justice in Scotland: links between measures of environmental quality and social deprivation". Proximity to woodland was one of the topics analysed. The study found that people living in deprived areas are less likely to live near to areas of woodland. However, for areas of new woodland, the analysis showed that there has been a tendency in planting towards deprived populations, suggesting that policy may be redressing this overall balance. To see the full report, access the SNIFFER website search and enter SNIFFER code UE4(03)01.

  • The Woods for People project has created a UK-wide inventory of accessible woodland now updated annually.  Derived figures for % of woodland with public access in Forestry Statistics (Table 6.13).
  • Based on this inventory, the Woodland Trust report Space for People proposed a Woodland Access Standard for people to have access to a woodland of an adequate size near to where they lived.  Estimates of the % of the population with access in 2004 and 2009 are in Forestry Statistics (Table 6.14) 

E3. Public awareness 

  • Reports are available from 2009 Public Opinion Surveys undertaken across the UK and separately in Scotland and Wales. The UK results show a rise in awareness of forests, woods and trees in the media to 78% of respondents in 2009 (from 64% in 2007 and 50% in 2005). Further spatial and demographic detail are available in the data tables published along with the provisional reports on our statistics web pages.

E4. Community involvement

  • The estimate for Scotland is from a report on Community Involvement, compiled by Reforesting Scotland in October 2002 for the Scottish Forestry Strategy indicators of progress. The indicators report an increase to 138 community groups in 2007.
  • The 2011 UK Public Opinion Survey asked households about their involvement with community work relating to woodlands and whether they had been involved in the consultation process. In the 12 months prior to being interviewed, only 7% of respondents said that they had been involved in any of the three community events listed (member of a community based woodland group, participated in organised tree planting event, or some voluntary work in connection with a woodland). Results from the survey showed that 2% of respondents had been consulted about plans for creating, managing or using woodlands in their area.

E5. Historic environment and cultural heritage

  • The reported Welsh figure of 999 Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) within 50 metres of woodland overstates the number in woodland. A more comparable figure is 467 SAMs within 5 metres of woodland boundaries.
  • The Tree Council has compiled information about Heritage Trees of Britain and Northern Ireland.

E6. Health & Safety

  • Accident statistics for Forestry Commission employees show an average annual rate of around 7 reported accidents per thousand employees between 2008/09 and 2011/12. This is lower than the average of around 15 per thousand for the period shown in the published indicators.

  • The Health & Safety Executive website includes their latest statistics. Based on the Labour Force Survey it estimates that reporting rates for non-fatal injuries are around 57% for employees.

  • Statistics on accidents reported to the Health & Safety Executive for employees in forestry and for wood processing industries, excluding accidents to the self-employed, are in Forestry Statistics (Table 7.6).

Last updated: 14th June 2017