One year on from the publication of the Government’s Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement,the Forestry Commission has made good progress on its plans to protect, improve and expand woods and forests.
Forestry Commission England Director, Ian Gambles, comments:
“Encouraging progress has been made over the past year and by working with our many partners in 2014, I am confident further great achievements will be made towards securing a more resilient future for our woods and forests and the forestry industry.
“The Government has committed to retaining the Public Forest Estate under public ownership and work will continue this year to secure a body that meets the Independent Panel’s requirements as closely as possible.”
The policy statement set a clear direction for the future of English forestry policy and called upon the whole forestry sector to work together to develop a new woodland culture.
- A risk register to monitor and plan for new tree pests and diseases
- £30m dedicated to tree planting over the next two years
- The support of the sector-led Grown in Britain initiative to increase the supply and demand for British grown wood and wood products
Achievements in detail
Real progress has been made in dealing with Oak Processionary Moth, including a 53% reduction in nest numbers and a one third decrease in the annual rate of spread. Controls have been strengthened on the import and movement of tree species presenting known risks and new resources will also help foresters to identify and plant more resilient species.
The sector has come together to address all of the recommendations from the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Task Force and will appoint the first ever Chief Plant Health Officer as well as publish a new Plant Biosecurity Strategy.
Support for the sector
A buoyant commercial forestry sector is enjoying good prices for timber, bringing greater volumes to market, employing more people and increasing its contribution to economic recovery. Supporting the Grown in Britain initiative and working with partners to increase the use of woodfuel for energy generation will go further to increasing the forestry sector’s confidence and resilience.
Investment in tree planting
The Government recently announced investment of £30 million over the next two years to plant four million trees in 2,000 hectares of new woodland. A focus has also been taken on implementing the UK Forestry Standard and providing incentives for landowners to manage and create woodland.
Launched by DEFRA and the Forestry Commission in 2010, The Big Tree Plant project also remains on course to plant one million new trees by 2015, improving green spaces in towns and cities across the country.
Enabling greater access to trees and woodlands
With visitor numbers over the past ten years showing increases of over 30% in some locations, the Forestry Commission is continuing to work with partners to develop trails, accommodation and activities across its visitor centres to develop the ways people can access and benefit from woods and forests.
Progress reports from members of the National Forestry Stakeholder Forum