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Policy Roundup – March 2021

Our monthly policy roundup blog updates you on what the Institute has been getting involved in and what you can get involved in too.

Institute Policy & Research

EFRA Committee

The highlight of this month was the Institute giving evidence at the EFRA Committee about the critical skills shortage in forestry. It was a session on land-based education and ICF Executive Director Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor was joined by Tim Bradshaw, Vice President of NFU, and Alex Payne, Chief Executive of Landex. The following day the committee announced they would be pushing government for more on this. You can watch the session here.

Consultation Submissions

We submitted two consultation responses this month: the Agriculture (Wales) White Paper and the National Planning Policy Framework in England. The former is proposing changes to felling licences that divided opinion amongst our diverse membership, and in the end, we urged proper consultation on the reasons for and detail of any changes. In the planning consultation we supported the commitment to tree-lined streets and urged earlier consideration of trees in the planning process that also properly accounts for ongoing management. See below to read our response to each consultation.

Agriculture (Wales) White Paper National Planning Policy Framework


Sustainable Farming Incentive

Defra’s Sustainable Farming Incentive has now launched, including an element for small scale woodland creation and lower-level interventions for woodland management. This year it is being piloted with a few hundred applicants across England before being rolled out to all BPS applicants in March next year. The pilot is only open for farmers who currently get BPS. Our concern is about the interrelationship between Countryside Stewardship, the new Forestry Commission grant offer coming in May and ELM in its broadest sense, especially for woodland creation/management plans.

England Tree Strategy Update & More

There continues to be a lot of updates to guidance, grants and incentives across the UK as well as developments in agricultural transition and on the England Tree Planting Programme. We are working hard with ICF reps to ensure these are coherent and do not hamper the sector’s efforts. We enjoyed the Scottish Government hustings event hosted by Confor and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry and Tree Planting (APPGF). We also gather that the England Tree Strategy is now an England Tree Action Plan which will sit underneath a Nature Strategy, yet to be developed. Never a dull moment!

UKWAS Consultation

A consultation has been opened on an Initial Revision Draft of UKWAS 5. We strongly encourage you to respond before the deadline of 30 April to give your views on the main changes which cover carbon, forest resilience, biosecurity and tree protection. For more information, please visit this page.

Featured News

  • Defra to launch Interim Office for Environmental Protection – read
  • UK launch Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue ahead of COP26 – read
  • Funding boost for Forest for Cornwall – read
  • Royal Town Planning Institute announce #ReTreeFit campaign – read


Grants and Funding

  • Forestry Commission grants newsletter – view
  • Defra Local Authority Treescapes fund – view
  • Scottish Forestry Small Woodland Loan Scheme – view
  • Scottish Forestry Harvesting & Processing Option new funding – view
  • Rural Payments Agency open application window for farmers – view
  • Funding to restore Scottish native woodlands – view


Guidance & Legislation

  • Guidance on selling wood in England for domestic purposes – read
  • Updated legislation on threat of Xylella – read
  • New version of Woodland Carbon Code launched – read


Research & Publications

  • Farmer-led study begins on benefits of agroforestry – read
  • Study into impact of repeated wildfires on forest carbon storage – read
  • Forests, food security and nutrition research – read
  • Landscape Institute publish climate change case study report – read
  • Scottish Government looking for volunteers for new network on integrating trees on your land – read
  • EFI publish report on forests in the EU – read

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