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Policy Roundup – January 2023

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

Institute news

It has been a busy start to the year at the Institute. We are particularly excited to be working with the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) on a position paper about the importance of getting more existing woodland into active management, something our respective memberships are passionate about. Thank you to the volunteers helping us with this.

We are in conversation with Natural Resources Wales about licensing charges and the changes to the Forestry Act, as well as supporting their work with the Welsh Government to improve the woodland planners list. It is worth noting the update to powers in England too, linked below. We are also collaborating with Scottish Forestry on a webinar to help applicants by engaging with statutory consultees – sign up here.

We are now looking at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC)’s consultation on planning reforms, the last iteration of which we responded to in 2021. We will need input from members to help us with this – please get in touch with your views.

Our work on agricultural transition across the UK continues – so far much of this has focussed on England with the Forestry Commission, Defra and member representatives, but we are gearing up for more in Wales with the Sustainable Farming Scheme, and keeping in touch with Scotland representatives. Members’ views are always very welcome.

Our Special Interest Group on Nurseries is reaping benefits already with TREES articles and events in development, and are looking to set up three more this year.

Finally, two of the team were successful in gaining places on the Emerging Leaders programme – Head of Policy & Partnerships, Jemima Cooper, in England and Senior Technical Officer, Shona Smyth MICFor, in Wales – which we hope will supercharge the Institute’s ability to speak on behalf of professional forestry and influence change in government policy.

Sector news, guidance and reports

  • Five-year plant health biosecurity strategy published – read
  • New laws in place to target illegal felling – read
  • Wales’ Woodland Restoration Scheme window closes on 2 February – read
  • Data shows financial saving of trees and woodlands in flood resilience – read
  • Farmers could receive £1,000 more per year as part of the Environmental Land Management schemes – read
  • New environment targets set – read
  • Government urged to act on the opportunities of net zero – read
  • Phytophthora pluvialis restrictions lifted – read
  • Government’s progress on improving the natural environment from 2021 to 2022 – read
  • Factsheet on woodland creation and carbon – read
  • Updated guidance on applying for a Woodland Management Plan grant – read
  • Forestry Commission update (5 January) – read
    • Revised grant payment rates: England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO), Tree Health Pilot, Countryside Stewardship
    • New flexibility to the EWCO capital payments cap
    • Changes to EWCO Additional Contribution spatial targeting
    • New enforcement measures cracking down on illegal tree felling in England will come into force on 1 January 2023
    • Webinar on Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier wildlife supplements, focusing on Deer and Squirrels
    • Update to restrictions in Phytophthora pluvialis demarcated areas

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