Policy Roundup – September 2020

Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too. 

Institute Policy & Research

England Tree Strategy

This month we issued two responses to Defra on the England Tree Strategy consultation – one on behalf of the Institute, and the other on behalf of the forestry sector, in partnership with Confor and the Royal Forestry Society. Next month, we are meeting with senior civil servants at Defra to work together on what comes next.

Read Our Response

Read the Joint Response

Raising our Profile

Council member Jo O’Hara MICFor and a group of members are developing an action plan to raise the profile of the Institute in the public debate on trees. At the first meeting, the group talked about what audiences should be targeted, from civil servants, to the media. We will provide members with an update on this work in the autumn edition of Trees.

Planning for the Future in England

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s ‘Planning for the future‘ consultation outlines proposals that will have a significant impact on how trees are considered and valued in the planning process. We have put together a small expert group working on this and we would like to hear your thoughts. If you work in this area, please get in touch with us by email to Jemima Cooper by Thursday 8 October.

Consultations & Public Policy

Timber Sales & Marketing Plan 2022 – 2026 (Wales)

Opened on 1 September by Natural Resources Wales, this consultation was launched to review the current plan (2016) due to changes in the market place, expectations of both the forest sector and new legislation, and to align it with the current forest resource plans reviews and felling period of 2022-2026. Please get involved by completing the online survey before the deadline of 3 November – you can do this here.

Sustainable Farming and Our Land: Simplifying Agricultural Support (Wales)

The Welsh Government’s ‘Sustainable farming and our land: simplifying agricultural support‘ consultation will close on 23 October and we would value your thoughts on the proposals. Please get in touch with Jemima Cooper to contribute. We also strongly encourage you to directly respond to the consultation online.

Scotland’s Plant Health Centre Outline Key Principles to Protect Plant Health

With the growing risks to plant health, Scotland’s Plant Health Centre has set out five key principles that should be considered in order to address the current threats and to protect plant health in Scotland. Please read this document here.

Tree-Lined Streets

Look out for this bill that will be read a second time on Friday 23 October in the House of Commons:

Put simply, trees are good for us, and the presence of trees and other greenery in urban environments has a discernible effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of those who live there. The presence of trees has a particularly important role to play in that philosophy, as they are inextricably linked to cleaner air, increased physical exercise and enhanced health and wellbeing. Trees also play a central role in nature’s recovery and in addressing climate change.” – Chris Clarkson MP

Forests & Climate Change

Below are some challenging reports and opinion pieces on forests and climate change.

  • Climate change will alter forests as we know them (Global Forest Watch) – read
  • Time to press on and drive a vibrant green recovery (The Herald, Scotland) – read
  • Tree planting is critical for sustainable future but can’t fix climate change on its own (Center for International Forestry Research) – read
  • RSPB calls out UK’s lost decade for nature as the UN reveals ten years of missed targets (RSPB) – read

  • UK path to net zero must be underpinned by education, choice, fairness and political consensus, urges Climate Assembly (Climate Assembly) – read

Research

Researchers Develop Woodland Carbon Map

Created by the James Hutton Institute, Forest Research and the University of Aberdeen, this online mapping tool allows you to visualise net change in carbon from afforestation in Scotland over time for different woodland planting options. To access the tool, click here.

Forest Research Publish 2020 Forestry Facts & Figures Report

The visual report provides up-to-date figures for new planting, restocking, wood production, employment and more. It is available for download on the Forest Research website.

UK Government Challenged on Meeting Targets

The Institute for Government have published this report ‘Net zero: how government can meet its climate change target‘ that challenges the UK Government and offers recommendations for committing to the current climate change targets.

Update on UK Squirrel Accord Fertility Research Project

Currently in its third year, this project on oral contraceptives for grey squirrel management is still going ahead despite the recent lockdown and field work was carried out in July 2020. For an overview of the data collection methods and next steps, visit the UKSA website.

Survey Finds Farmers Want More Support for Agroforestry

A recent survey has found that much greater support, information and payment certainty is needed for farmers and land managers in order for them to implement agroforestry in the UK. You can view the results of the survey here.

Read: Accelerating Private Investment in Nature-Based Solutions

This paper from the Broadway Initiative (IEMA) presents a proposal for the UK Government to support green recovery through private investment in nature-based solutions. Please read the full paper here.

RFS Highlights Four Papers in Quarterly Journal of Forestry on Forest Resilience

Since 2018, the Royal Forestry Society have published four papers on forest resilience and they are all available for download on their website. You can find all four on this page.

Creating a Strong Bioeconomy With Sustainable Non-Timber Products

The following spotlight blog from the International Union of Forest Research Organisations discusses the future of renewable energy and the transition to a bioeconomy to fight the climate crisis. The article suggests exploring non-timber forest products is essential in order to facilitate the sustainable management of global resources. To read the full blog, click here.

Grants and Funding

  • Defra: The third Woodland Carbon Guarantee auction is now open and there is £10million available to help tackle climate change – view
  • Forestry Commission: Next deadline for the HS2 Woodland Fund is 27 November – view
  • UKRI: Call for interdisciplinary research proposals on the future of treescapes – view

To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research Officerjemima.cooper@charteredforesters.org.

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