Defra have announced the Government’s formal response to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s report, published in July 2012.
ICF Welcomes Government’s Willingness to Embrace Independent Panel on Forestry’s Vision
Commenting on the Government’s Forestry Policy Statement published by Defra on Thursday 31 January, Shireen Chambers FICFor, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), and a member of the Independent Panel, said:
“As the UK’s professional body relating to forests and trees, ICF has been awaiting the Government’s response with great interest. We are pleased to see the Government has embraced the panel’s vision, and aspirations, for the future of England’s woodlands and also that they have accepted many of the report’s recommendations in full. A key element of this has been the Government’s agreement that the public forest should remain in public ownership and today’s announcement that a new public body will be set up to oversee the management of this. The future of Forest Services, which the panel wished to see as a champion for forestry, has however been left open.”
Shireen added: “It is reassuring to see the ICF’s work improving skills, disseminating knowledge and raising standards throughout the forestry and arboriculture professions highlighted in the policy strategy. We fully agree that a highly skilled, professionally-qualified workforce is crucial if the forestry sector is to drive growth, meet future demand, and provide well-managed forests.
“We especially welcome the Government’s commitment that forestry’s economic potential is realised and the ICF looks forward to working in partnership with government and others to realise this. Of particular interest to our members is ensuring that woodland owners have access to professional advice on woodland management. However, the report lacks detail on how this and other measures can be achieved in a tough fiscal climate.
A rallying call was issued to the Government – and it appears to have responded. The vital importance and value of England’s woodlands has been recognised and we now have a clear direction of travel for English forestry policy. We look forward to working with the Government in the coming weeks so that The ICF, and our members, can continue to play a key role in turning these aspirations into reality.”