One Year On – a lot done, more to do
On Wednesday, a meeting of the Forestry Forum were presented with ‘One Year On’, a government policy statement outlining their effectiveness over the last 12 months in implementing the Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement in England.
One year ago, 36 commitments were made to the English Forestry sector, ranging from improving woodland assets and driving economic growth, to investment in resources and research to tackle threats from pests and diseases.
ICF Highlights Positive Steps
The Institute of Chartered Foresters has welcomed the progress on these issues outlined in the statement, highlighting the following successes in particular:
- 53% reduction in Oak Processionary Moth nests
- The development of a UK Plant Health Risk Register
- Legislation on the Public Forest Estate to be included in the Queens speech in May
- Allocation of an extra £8 million into tree health and plant biosecurity research
- New controls on imports of native species
- Collaboration with ICF in the delivery of Woodland Management Seminars to increase understanding of UKFS and FCE Templates
Shireen Chambers FICFor, ICF Executive Director, who attended the Forestry Forum debate, said: “The Government still has work to do in implementing the Independent Panel on Forestry’s recommendations, but it is clear that positive steps have been made, including the safeguarding of the Public Forest Estate. The Minister’s assurance that the proposal will be in the Queens speech in May is welcome as is the promise of available funds to plug the Rural Development Programme gap. We hope that the next 12 months see real change, and we are asking Government to focus now on supporting Forest Services to become the forest champion that the Panel wished to see. This crucial job needs to be done to build on the success of 2013 and to grow the rural economy through forestry.”