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Policy Roundup – August 2023

Our monthly policy and research blog updates you on the latest work at the Institute and how you can get involved.

Institute news

This month has again been a busy time for the Institute. We were delighted to announce that the Professional and Educational Standards Committee promoted five more new members to Fellows of the Institute. Congratulations to Dr Sallie Bailey FICFor, Michael Cresswell FICFor, Tim Hall FICFor, Duncan Park FICFor and Dr Victoria Stokes FICFor Fellowship recognises an individual’s dedication, experience and achievements and should be the ambition of all members.  

We have also been responding to the Environmental Audit Committee Reporton its publication (19 July) that highlights a balanced case for productive forests and environmental targets featuring in tandem within our landscape. Executive Director, Louise Simpson, commented “We welcome Defra’s engagement with the forestry, timber and construction sectors and await further progress on the industry-led National Wood Strategy and the publication of the Timber in Construction Roadmap. The Institute hopes that these will provide further support to this report in providing clarification on how we can meet our domestic timber needs and reduce offshoring.” Read our response.  

This is a welcome shift in thought around timber production in England’s forests. Louise Simpson wrote to Trudy Harrison MP (Minister for Natural Environment and Land Use) to initiate a meeting following the publication report. Read the letter here.  

Finally, on the 4 August, we published a joint position paper with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM)
that calls on governments and agencies across the UK to bring about an urgent step change in the sustainable management of existing woodlands. Our organisations jointly represent the full breadth and depth of professional expertise in forestry, ecology and environmental management. We urge governments and partners to commit to urgent action and to working with us to enable our woodlands to deliver for nature and people. Read

National Study Tour

Our National Study Tour 2023 is fast approaching, taking place on 26 and 27 September, with visits to the Sainsbury Laboratory and Holkham Estate in
Norfolk. Harry Wakefield MICFor, Head Forester at Holkham, said “Holkham Estate welcomes the Institute’s National Study Tour to look into the management of a historic, Grade 1 listed park landscape that welcomes two million visitors a year.” The tour will capture the renewed focus in forest management and how the successful navigation of the heavily designated land holding has occurred. Book your place.

The Institute is currently looking to respond to the Changes to the Forestry (felling of trees) regulations 1979. This consultation comes from Welsh Government regarding the amendment of the Forestry (Felling of Trees) Regulations 1979 as a result of the changes to the Forestry Act 1967 brought about by the Agriculture (Wales) Bill. This is in relation to prescribed periods and prescribed manner in which appeals, compensation claims and notifying local authorities about notices affecting TPO’s need to be made, as arising from the forestry provisions in the Bill.   Please send your comments toShona Smyth MICFor, Senior Technical Officerby Friday 1 September and respond individually online. 

We also encourage members to respond individually to the Consultation on Protecting Hedgerows. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is seeking your views on where it should focus its ambitions for future hedgerow protections. Please respond by 20 September.  


Our Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group representative, Harry Wakefield MICFor, provided an update on the changes anticipated by HSE for risk assessments and training. These changes will ensure that advanced felling techniques are included and sufficiently detailed, with improved machinery training and assessment as this does not always follow ‘best practice’. Additionally, auditing may be needed to assess the skill level of personnel, rather than just a review of certification. Finally, there is to be a more in-depth assessment of identifying where incidence and near misses occur to inform training needs. Emphasis is to be placed particularly on the importance of near miss reports.  

Also, Martin Gammie MICFor, representative on the Green Infrastructure Partnership (GIP) announced the launch of the new GIP website. The partnership also has their annual conference on Thursday 21 September – more details to follow soon.

Special Interest Groups

Following its successful establishment, the Institute’s Nurseries Special Interest Group is looking for three members to join this dynamic group. Chris Hardy MICFor, Chair of the Nurseries Special Interest Group, commented: 

“There has never been a more important and dynamic time for nurseries in the forestry and arb sector. The Institute’s Nurseries Special Interest Group has been playing a critical role in communicating key nursery issues to the wider industry, as well as sharing knowledge and ideas among its membership. The group is ready to grow and diversify to ensure it is best placed to consider and tackle today’s key tree supply challenges. If you’re interested in developing and improving UK tree supply, please consider joining this forward-thinking group of professionals.” 

For more information and to express interest, contact the Institute’s Senior Technical Officer, Shona Smyth MICFor. 

We have also launched a new Special Interest Groups page on the website, for more information on our groups and their members.

Sector news, guidance and reports

Video case study on HS2 Woodland Fund progress on West Wycombe Estate
YouTube – Forestry Commission

New journal article on the extreme drought frequency and duration and specialist habitats and species in Scotland
British Ecological SocietyBiomass Strategy 2023

Biodiversity Net Gain moves closer

New CivTech challenge focused on deer management
Forestry and Land Scotland

Guidance – Ips typographus

Response to sustainable farming scheme
Welsh Government

€1.3bn forestry programme approved in Ireland

Felling licence changes in Wales
Forestry Journal

UK’s tallest timber office
Timber Development UK

Canopy soils on branches an overlooked forest habitat
Imperial College London

Trees and woodlands on the NHS estate
NHS Forest

Using cross-laminated timber in construction
Timber Development UK
£14 million research fund for innovative solutions in agriculture and horticulture

US nurseries lack species diversity and quantity to meet government targets
The Guardian

Important role of pines, oaks and hedges on vineyards
Euronews Green

CIFOR-ICRAF Annual Report 2022

What does the latest housing policy mean for the timber sector?
Timber Development UK

Tree Species Soil Volume Guide updated
GreenBlue Urban

Germany taking steps to fight spruce bark beetle
Forestry Journal

Latest climate change factsheets available
Forest Research

Working to boost tree planting
Scottish Forestry

Successful Farming Innovation Programme project bid
NFU Online

BSW gains RoSPA recognition
BSW Group

First made-in-Wales Agriculture Act gains Royal Assent

Green finance in trees, woodlands and forests
Forest Research

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