Guidance for Members on COVID-19

We are here to offer support and guidance during this difficult time. Below, we have summarised the advice that’s relevant to the forestry and arboriculture sector.

Please note that the advice for Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales may differ so it is best to check official government advice for the country you are living in first. 

Advice for England

Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. There is updated (11/05/20) UK Government guidance specifically for those working in outdoor environments.  The advice is to still work from home where possible but outlines a number of steps that are needed to help you understand how you can continue, or restart, operations at this time. There is also guidance on risk assessments, maintaining social distance, travel to/from work, cleaning/sanitising and face covering and general advice for managers. Please ensure that you have thoroughly read this guidance if you intend to work outdoors – it can be found here.

Advice for Scotland

Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. The Scottish Government have produced a route map for moving out of lockdown and are now in Phase 1. Scottish Forestry have published guidance (29/05/20) on how the forestry sector in Scotland can safely and resiliently restart with advice on safe working measures.

Advice for Wales

Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. Some changes to the coronavirus restrictions in Wales came into force on 1 June, please see here.

Advice for Northern Ireland

Businesses are being asked to work from home if they can and everyone must observe social distancing. There’s a range of advice available for businesses on the government’s website.


In addition, Confor have produced guidance for the forestry sector on safely returning to work. Please refer to it here.

The most important thing for members to do is to stay safe. For the latest health advice, see UK Government information and the NHS website. You can also find mental health support here.

GOV.UK has more information on financial support for businesses. There’s additional financial support in Scotland and Wales. It’s worth exploring official resources where you are in case the support on offer changes.

Confor’s Covid Hub has detailed guidance on safe working and letters of comfort that can be used by anyone (not just Confor members or designated key workers). There are also FAQs, business support and links to guidance by other bodies like Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales. The Institute is working with Confor to ensure the sector has the information and support it needs.

The Arboricultural Association have produced their own information and advice (consistent with the above), an advice poster for continuing to work, and arboriculture-specific guidance for working.

We acknowledge reports that different countries can seem to have different approaches to enforcement and different public attitudes to business and movement. If you are starting to return to work, social distancing measures must be in place.

We’re also aware of many of the challenges our members are facing, from issues with having to travel in separate vehicles, to delays accessing financial support for the self-employed. The survey we ran earlier this month on the impact of COVID-19 is already being used to help us and government bodies decide what else is needed. The results of this survey can be found here.

Useful links: 

Forestry Commissionhow they are supporting the sector through the outbreak
DefraCOVID-19 update
FISANews (Including COVID-19 information)
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy business support
UK Government – general up-to-date information

Make sure to keep checking our website for the latest information.

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