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Policy Roundup – March 2023

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

Institute news

The Spring Budget to Parliament on 15 March touched briefly on waste and agriculture but barely mentioned nature and the environment, so despite positive progress on trees and woodlands with Defra and with the devolved governments, it clearly is not a cross-UK Government priority.

At the Institute, we are working on the Forestry Grant Scheme consultation and are actively seeking a steer from members – please contact Senior Technical Officer, Shona Smyth MICFor, with your thoughts on this vital piece of the puzzle for achieving woodland ambitions. We published our response to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill as well as a joint response with our partners on the Environmental Policy Forum – you can read all our consultation responses here.

This month our Executive Director, Louise Simpson, attended a lively Trees and Forestry Stakeholder Forum meeting at London’s Oval cricket ground. Hosted by Defra, many senior figures across forestry and arboriculture joined to discuss how to better support tree planting and care in the future, learn more about emerging issues and continue to strengthen support for our short and long-term tree planting targets. To find out more about the meeting, read our recent blog. We also attended Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison’s Wednesday morning roundtable to discuss skills in the forestry sector.

We are delighted to welcome two new Institute Representatives this month. Joining the FISA Steering Group, Neill Scott MICFor from Forest Management Cymru, and representing us on the Forestry Climate Change Partnership, Rob Coventry MICFor from Canopy Land Use.

After the success of our first Special Interest Group (SIG), whose outputs you will see in the form of TREES articles and a nursery visit later this year, we are setting up more SIGs. John Deakin MICFor will chair our environmental SIG and Iwan Lloyd-Williams MICFor chaired our first Harvesting & Marketing meeting this month. We are working with Miriam Jones-Walters MICFor to develop the Early Careers SIG and are interested in the views of our early career professionals on what you would like this group to look like. Please get in touch.

Finally, in correlation with International Women’s Day on 8 March, our Head of Policy & Partnerships, Jemima Cooper, wrote a blog for the Forestry Commission celebrating the impressive leading women working in a range of roles across the timber sector, and what opportunities our sector can offer to farm businesses.

Sector news

  • 1 March: Forestry Commission Grants and Regulations Update – read
  • Importance of honest and transparent timber sourcing – read
  • NatureScot signs £2billion private finance deal to restore native woodland – read
  • Mapping tree cover in England – read
  • Wales launches net zero skills action plan – read
  • Defra trees and forestry newsletter – read
  • Supporting documents on amending the forestry act in Wales – read
  • UK Forestry Minister committed to planting more productive forests – read
  • Clarification on the use of red diesel in arboriculture – read


  • Consultation on the changes to forestry powers in Wales closes on 30 March – read
  • Consultation opens on the taxation of environmental land management and ecosystem service markets – read
  • Consultation launched on the extension and future of the Climate Change Agreements scheme – read

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