Policy Roundup – July 2021

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 saw the first in-person meeting of the Institute team in Edinburgh which included a visit to a Forestry and Land Scotland harvesting site and some swinging through the trees at Go Ape in the beautiful Trossachs National Park.

There has been plenty of work behind the scenes on apprenticeships, health and safety and representation, and we attended the excellent three-day Treescapes 2021 research conference where Institute Vice President, Geraint Richards MVO FICFor, delivered a keynote speech. Institute President, Sharon Durdant-Hollamby FICFor, responded to the revised National Planning Policy Framework and we await developments on the rest of the planning reforms in England.

Represent the Institute – Apply by 29 July

Applications for the ICF Representative roles on UKWAS Steering Group and Defra Tree Health Policy Group close on Thursday 29 July – please get in touch if you are interested.

Find out more


Policy & Funding Updates

There have been a lot of policy and funding developments from UK governments and public bodies – not surprising in a year that needs to be a game changer for trees and woodland. In England, the Forestry Commission have been very active on new schemes including the Urban Tree Challenge fund and the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) and Defra made an update to the Agricultural Transition Plan – read our response here.

In Northern Ireland the draft Peatland Strategy opened for consultation and we are planning to respond so please send us your thoughts.

In Scotland Scottish Forestry have been working on the new cultivation guidance, with some pushback from productive forestry. Our Executive Director, Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor, is joining the new National Forestry Stakeholder Group for Scotland and is due to speak to the new Minister, Màiri McAllan, soon.

In Wales the Climate Change ministerial team has been extremely busy on a taskforce with forestry stakeholders doing a ‘deep dive’ into barriers to woodland creation, with already some moves to streamline the process. Find out more about this here.

There will always be challenges with new schemes to dovetail them with existing schemes and we are seeing some of this in England. For the Sustainable Farming Incentive’s farm woodland standard, applicants can have both a Countryside Stewardship agreement and an SFI Pilot agreement but not on the same land parcels. There will be opportunities for private sector advisers to be hired by the Forestry Commission to give farm advice and we expect a process of competitive quotes later this year.

We have also been feeding back from members to the Forestry Commission EWCO team to address issues of eligibility between schemes and we are assured they are working closely with Natural England and the Rural Payments Authority on this – see updated guidance here.

Sector News

Grants & Funding

  • Woodland grants and incentives overview table – view
  • Guidance on the Tree Production Innovation Fund – view
  • Latest Forestry Commission grants and regulation update – view
  • £10 million funding to restore nature and tackle biodiversity loss – view
  • Discovery grants open for peat restoration projects – view

Policy News

  • Breeding populations of bark beetle tree pest identified in Kent – read
  • New biodiversity metric published – read
  • Community forest to be created in the North East of England – read
  • TTF and CTI update on supply and demand for wood products – read
  • NFU publish Tree Strategy – read

Research & Articles

  • Forest Research’s seven core programmes for 2021-2026 – read
  • Landscape ecology in the UN decade on ecosystem restoration – read
  • The question of additionality in the Woodland Carbon Code – read
  • Doubts about the success of the UK Government’s ‘green recovery’ plans – read
  • EFI report contributes on how to achieve old-growth forest protection targets in the EU – read
  • How planting trees can significantly benefit the economy – read
  • Research published on the link between young people’ mental health and living near woodlands – read

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