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Forestry Regulation Task Force deliver final report to Government

The Forestry Regulation Task Force has today, 27 October 2011, delivered its final report and recommendations to Government.

The report, ‘Challenging Assumptions, Changing Perceptions’, challenges Government to look at the way the Forestry sector is regulated and is the culmination of 9 months’ work gathering information, engaging with and seeking views from the forestry sector.  The Task Force make 15 Key Recommendations, 26 Recommendations and a further 14 recommendations to improve existing processes. 

Chris Starr, Chair of the Task Force, said:

“The Task Force has developed a suite of recommendations to allow a skilled and diverse sector to continue to manage their woodlands to a high standard. We call for regulation that is informed by a balanced approach to risk, compliance and good practice, all underpinned by the UK Forestry Standard. We have put forward some longer term challenges, including developing and implementing a system of Earned Recognition that reduces regulation for managers with a good track record of sustainable woodland management and we have recommended the immediate removal of forestry from within the scope of the Gangmasters Licensing Act based upon clear evidence of a low-risk sector. 

In addition a number of quick wins are recommended including a simplified guide to the UK Forestry Standard, more effective and streamlined applications for grants and easier web access to advice on felling licences including reporting suspected illegal felling activity.
We look forward to the Minister’s response on how the Government intends to take forward these recommendations which we believe will  allow the sector to support their aspirations for well-managed woodlands and a low-carbon economy.”

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Paice said:

“I would like to thank the Forestry Regulation Task Force for this impressive piece of work.  We have to reduce the burden that red tape has put on the people who own or manage our forests if we want the industry to thrive.  Defra will look closely at the recommendations and will publish our response early next year.”

Colin Mann, Chair of Confor, said:

"Given that Confor requested this Task Force be established, I am delighted it has now produced a comprehensive report.  England's forests can deliver a huge amount for society, the low carbon economy and the environment, but to achieve the full potential of our national resource we need more effectively targeted regulation."

In welcoming the report, Shireen Chambers, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters said:

“Many of our members have become frustrated by increasing regulation and the failure of successive governments to make the connection between active woodland management and the well-being of our forests.  Of particular interest to us is the report’s key recommendation on Earned Recognition: we believe professional bodies can play a huge role in helping government to reduce regulation. With half of England’s woods unmanaged, bringing more woods into sustainable management must be a key priority in a new regulatory framework.”

Notes to Editor

1. On 18 January 2011 the Chair, Membership and Terms of Reference of the Industry Led Forestry Regulation Task Force were announced by Forestry Minister, Jim Paice. The Taskforce was asked to review the relevant regulations and their implementation for both the management of existing forests and the establishment of new ones. It will also gain an understanding of the impact of regulation on businesses both up and down the wood supply chain.

A copy of the report of recommendations as well as further background can be found at

2. Media contact Stuart Burgess, 0117 372 1073, 07785 748351