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Policy Roundup – June 2024

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

Institute news

Trees for People, Place and Nature: Growing Trees for Tomorrow’s Needs

As the Royal Chartered body for professionals working with trees in the public, private and third sectors, we represent a broad range of those working in trees including foresters, arboriculturists, environmentalists, and researchers. With the next general election taking place on 4 July 2024, we recently published the document, Trees for People, Place and Nature: Growing Trees for Tomorrow’s needs, that sets out four key areas for the next government to acknowledge. We are calling on the government to commit to working with the forestry profession to unlock the potential of our trees, woods and forests, in support of delivering against the timber, biodiversity, and climate crises.

Environmental Policy Forum’s priorities for government

In addition, the Environmental Policy Forum (EPF) has outlined the environmental priorities the next government must implement with urgency during its time in office. A coalition of professional bodies and learned societies, the EPF was established to promote environmental sustainability and resilience for the public benefit. The Institute is one of its 14 members, with the EPF representing over 110,000 qualified professionals across a wide range of different specialised disciplines. Read the full story.

Emerging Leader Programme

Following on from the huge success of the first widely acclaimed Emerging Leader Programme, we are delighted to open applications for the second round of this exciting leadership series that aims to develop the skills of both existing and aspiring leaders in our sector. Developed in partnership with Clore Social Leadership, the programme offers a fantastic opportunity for those who work and volunteer with trees to develop the skills necessary to ensure our trees, forests and woodlands are managed to effectively deliver against multiple objectives, including planting targets, climate change mitigation, the biodiversity crisis and more. We recently held a webinar that provided an overview of the programme, hearing from some of 2023’s Emerging Leaders, along with staff from the Institute and Clore Social Leadership – you can watch the webinar here.

Louise Simpson, Executive Director of the Institute, commented:

“We’re delighted to once again be running our widely acclaimed Emerging Leader Programme. Our future forestry leaders will undertake a comprehensive programme of activities that will ensure they are equipped to deal with the challenges of woodland planting targets, climate change mitigation, the biodiversity crisis and more.

“Similar to the first cohort, this year’s programme will deliver a skilled and strongly interconnected cohort of tree professionals with strong leadership skills to drive the sector forward and navigate future challenges“.

Council Away Day

The Institute’s Council members and Senior Management Team met in Staffordshire on 18 and 19 June for their annual away day. New Council members were welcomed, that included Jo Ellis MICFor, Kate Fitzgerald MICFor, Martin Glynn FICFor CEnv, Dr Jon Heuch MICFor, and Pherenice Worsey-Buck MICFor, with Ben Gunneberg MICFor and Craig Harrison FICFor having been re-elected for a second term of two years. The first day consisted of a meeting with an induction for new Council members, an overview of the recent investments review and an update on Institute activities from the President and Executive Director, with fruitful discussions on all topics.

On the second day, Council members were treated to a visit to Norbury Park Estate, generously hosted by newly awarded Honorary Fellow, Jo Bradwell FICFor (Hon). He introduced us to his fascinating work at Norbury Park on working with scientific evidence to approach their management of woodlands, challenging some of the more traditional silvicultural methods and providing great food for thought.

International Study Tour

From 19 – 22 June, our Technical Policy Manager, Shona Smyth MICFor, attended our first International Study Tour, visiting Dresden and Tharandt in Germany.  Over the four days, delegates visited the Forest Botanical Garden in Tharandt and Tharandt Forest, topped off with a history and culture tour of Dresden, led by Cora Pfarre MICFor. We would like to thank Maydencroft for sponsoring the event and our hosts; Dr Ulrich Pietzarka – Head of Arboretum, Forest Botanical Garden Tharandt (TUD Dresden University of Technology) and Dr Sven Irrgang – Head of Forestry District (Sachsenforst), Forestry Commission Saxony.

Consultations & political advocacy

Responding to public consultations is an important way to influence policy. We consult with members as much as possible and often work in partnership with other organisations to strengthen our messages. We also produce papers on specific topics where it is important to publish our position.

Since the publication of the Institute’s document Trees for People, Place and Nature: Growing Trees for Tomorrow’s Needs, published on 29 May 2024, we have been invited to meet with Andrew Muir MP, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister in Northern Ireland (DAERA) and Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands in Scotland. We have also received a response from Huw Irranca-Davies MS in Wales, acknowledging the vital role forestry must play in delivering sustainable timber and working with stakeholders across the public and private sector will be key to delivering a successful Timber Industrial Strategy in Wales.

We are encouraging members to respond to the following consultations:



Our representatives sit on groups, panels, and committees across the sector, actively participating, feeding back developments, and advising us on actions to take. The role of an ICF Representative is a crucial touch point between Institute staff, Council, and members. Please see this month’s representatives’ updates below.

Defra Tree Health Policy Group

On Thursday 6 June, Tom Jenkins MBE FICFor attended the Defra “Operational Tree Health Update” meeting earlier today. This meeting followed the release of information about Ips typographus. Links to updated information about both Ips typographus and Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) are included below, which will be of particular interest to members in England.

Updated information relating to Ips typographus (the larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle)


Updated information relating to oak processionary moth (OPM, Thaumetopoea processionea)


Forest Plastics Working Group

The Forest Plastics Working Group met on the 12 June, where the group heard from Camilla Timms and Stephen Smith on the National Trust’s plans for tackling climate change and plastics pollution, which includes their guidance on sustainability, encompassing tree protection and support research on alternative materials. Trash Free Trails, a small CIC founded in 2017, presented their social science research “State of our trails report 2023” into the prevalence of single use plastics and the development of the term Single Use Pollution; aiming to reconnect people with nature through removing single-use pollution from places of recreation. The group also received an update on the “Plot that Plastic” App. For more information on the new citizen science project set up by the ‘Forest Plastics Working Group’ and to participate please visit the website.

Special Interest & Steering groups

The Institute’s Special Interest Groups aim to represent the needs and interests of different areas in the sector and facilitate increased knowledge exchange. They work to provide relevant CPD and training for members around their areas of expertise, all whilst working towards a shared understanding of what professionalism means across forestry and arboriculture.

Following its successful establishment, the Institute’s Harvesting & Marketing Special Interest Group is looking for new members to join this dynamic group.

Are you wanting to foster relationships between commercial operations and the rest of the sector? Are you interested in raising awareness and the profile of harvesting and the wider timber sector? This is a fantastic opportunity to encourage engagement, tailor relevant CPD content and be a part of the Institute’s wider Stronger Voice:

  • Build and enjoy a strong and active network that promotes the harvesting and marketing sector
  • Support, design and deliver CPD events and related content that raises the profile of key issues and/or developments
  • Engage with the wider industry by guiding the Institute on suitable social media campaigns
  • Support the Institute with meeting members needs and active engagement with our strategy
  • Add your voice to the development of long-term tree supply strategies for the sector.


The Institute aims to provide a professional home for all arboriculture and forestry specialisms and better understand our members’ needs. We are particularly encouraging early career professionals to express interest. For more information and to express interest, contact Shona Smyth MICFor.

On 5 June, our Environmental Special Interest Group hosted its first professional development day, hosted by Network Rail and City of London Corporation. A full write up will follow next month. Dr Andrew Weatherall FICFor participated in a panel discussion at the Treescapes 2024 Conference at Glasgow University Union on 13 June. The panel on Delivering national tree targets at local scale, covered the role of social science and economics and an applicant led process, as well as the importance of mapping.

Our Nurseries Special Interest Group is hosting its second CPD event on 17 July at Barcham Trees near Ely, with a tour of the nursery covering root and crown development of standard trees, root development in containers, irrigation and nutrition, formative and structural pruning, plant handling and biosecurity.  The group also welcomed Martin Glynn FICFor CEnv from Northwoods to the group. Martin primarily audits for Plant Healthy and the UK and Ireland Sourced and Grown Assurance Scheme (UKISG), but also provides advice on biosecurity. Book your place here.

Sector news, guidance & reports

Forest Research publish provisional woodland statistics
Forest Research

New funding to support project on a whole farm approach to natural capital development
Soil Association

Green Party Election Manifesto
Green Party

Conservative Election Manifesto

Liberal Democrats Election Manifesto
Liberal Democrats

Labour Election Manifesto

Importance of land restoration and protection through soils investment

Plans to transform 8,000 hectares in England with a ‘wild’ approach to forestry
Forestry England

Read about the future of forests in policy and the benefits of forest certification discussed at PEFC’s Forest Forum in Paris

£3 million of funding announced in Northern Ireland to protect peatlands

An update on the Home-Grown Homes project in Wales
Woodknowledge Wales

New fact sheet on complying with the FSC and EUDR regulations

DAERA publish environmental indicators for 2024

Forestry sector raises concerns over the falling annual planting targets in Northern Ireland, especially productive species
Forestry Journal

Labour publish countryside protection plan
Forestry Journal

New paper on the role of tree and woods in Scotland’s nature recovery
Woodland Trust

Policy paper on the VAT treatment of voluntary carbon credits
HM Revenue & Customs

The devastating impact of 2023’s wildfire at Cannich in the Highlands
Forestry Journal

Lottery funding to support the reintroduction of pine martens on Exmoor and Dartmoor
Forestry Journal

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