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Policy Roundup – July 2023

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

Institute news

New Head of Policy and Partnerships

This month has been one of change and celebration as we said farewell to Jemima Cooper. Jemima looks back at her time with us in a recent blog post. The Institute has since welcomed Jo Fox-Evans as the new Head of Policy and Partnerships. With more than 20 years’ experience working with membership bodies, Jo thrives on working for organisations with integrity and is excited by the multi-faceted nature of the role of Head of Policy and Partnerships at the Institute.

Former President awarded Myerscough Honorary College Fellowship

This month Sharon Durdant-Hollamby FICFor, President of the Institute from 2021-23, received a Myerscough Honorary College Fellowship for her outstanding contribution to forestry and arboriculture. Sharon has supported the Institute throughout her career as a Councillor, Vice President and President. She is a passionate advocate for the sector and its role in climate action, and regularly promotes the benefits of arboriculture and forestry careers to young people to tackle the skills shortage. You can read Sharon’s address on accepting the award here.

Updates to Chartered Environmentalist registration

Associate members of the Institute can now pursue Chartered Environmentalist registration without first having to achieve Chartered Arboriculturist or Chartered Forester status. This represents a significant change for the Institute, as previously only Professional Members and Fellows were eligible to apply for CEnv registration. We are now one of 25 Licensed Bodies that can award the title Chartered Environmentalist. For more information about the route to Chartered Environmentalist status, visit this page.

Call for Treescapes Fellows

The second round of the Treescapes Fellowship Scheme is now open for applications and is looking to fill research gaps in productive forestry, tree health, and woodland expansion. Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Future of UK Treescapes is an interdisciplinary research programme that hopes to inform future policy, management and resilience of UK treescapes, while improving environmental, socio-economic and cultural understanding of the functions and services produced by them. Find out more and submit a proposal.

Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committees vacancies

Finally, we are encouraging members to apply for a position on the Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committees (FWACs). The Forestry Commission is looking to appoint individuals with expert knowledge and a passionate interest in forestry and woodlands issues. There are a total of nine FWACs across five Forest Services Areas and each Committee normally meets three times a year, including occasional joint meetings of Committees where there are common business priorities and networking benefits. Please note that that members are appointed in their personal capacity, and this is not an Institute representative position. Click here for more information and to express and interest.

National Study Tour

With our National Study Tour 2023 taking place on 26 and 27 September at 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 landscape, Grade 1 listed park, National Nature Reserve, SSSI, SAC, AONB, 2 million visitors a year and years of under-managed woodlands. The tour will capture the renewed focus in forest management and how the successful navigation of the heavily designated land holding has occurred.”

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On Wednesday 28 June Defra launched a consultation on hedgerow protections in England. We know that Hedgerows are important features within our landscape, providing many benefits for habitats, wildlife, soil, water and sequester carbon. Investment in further planting and maintenance is crucial. Defra are seeking views on the best way to maintain and improve exisitng protections for hedgerows, as well as the Forestry Commission’s approach to enforcement, to ensure that the regulations work for wildlife, the environment, and landowners. Further information can be found in Defra’s blog, Protecting hedgerows: share your views. We are considering a response and need your input to help inform and shape this. Please send your thoughts to our Senior Technical Officer, Shona Smyth MICFor, by Friday 25 August. The consultation will close on 20 September 2023.

ICF Representation

Neill Scott MICFor, ICF Representative on the FISA Steering Group, has provided an update from HSE and a call for members input to shape the work of FISA:

“Following the recent safety inspections by HSE it was felt that the forestry sector was improving the management of safety. There are still concerns regarding chainsaw use and the competency of Forest Works Managers, particularly with respect to site specific risk assessments which are felt not to be good enough or reviewed during operations. These areas are core aspects of FISA’s current work.

There have been some accidents involving tree shears and grapple saws and the relevant FISA working group will be restarted to review these. FISA is also reviewing the use of Quads and ATVs and anyone who has safety issues to raise regarding the use of these machines is also asked to share their thoughts.”

Members are encouraged to contact Neill directly at with thoughts.

Sector news, guidance and reports

  • Lord Goldsmith quits due to “government’s apathy over environment” – read
  • Farming Innovation Investor Partnership Competition announced with £5 million in grant funding – read
  • PEFC publish whitepaper on sustainable forest management for fashion retailers – read
  • APPG new report on the barriers and solutions related to timber construction – read
  • Three hectares of rainforest on the Duchy of Cornwall’s Dartmoor estate to double by 2040 – read
  • Improving biosecurity in urban tree planting – read
  • Defra, FC and partners report back on their last six months of work – read
  • Natural Resources Wales defend felling of diseased larch after criticism on red squirrel conservation – read
  • Mixed responses to the Scottish Government’s Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation consultation – read
  • Scotland looks to America to embed forestry in school curriculum to tackle skills shortage – read
  • New plans announced in Scotland for riparian tree planting – read
  • Oak Processionary Moth outbreak discovered in Derbyshire – read

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