Policy Roundup – May 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

This month has seen a flurry of activity – elections in England, Scotland and Wales, further easing of lockdown restrictions and the launch of the long-awaited England Trees Action Plan (ETAP). Its objectives and proposals are very sensible and we welcome it, but there is a lot of work to do. We still think more is needed on skills, urban trees and how all the different schemes and incentives will fit together.

Our response to ETAP


The Plan was launched at an event where George Eustice MP outlined plans to triple woodland creation, protect peatlands and boost biodiversity (when we could hear him!). Executive Director Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor wrote to him the following day about our concerns with the public messaging on timber and wood products from the launch event. We thought it risked reinforcing a myth that cutting down trees is bad and undermining meaningful conversation about the enormous benefit to society that wood products have.

Alongside the Plan itself there are a number of schemes and initiatives coming in. Forestry England is offering to lease land from owners to create and manage the woodland on their behalf, and the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) has been announced to support farmers and landowners create a range of woodland types and sizes. Work on Environmental Land Management (ELM) is ongoing and thousands of farmers have responded to the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot, one of the elements of it. There is also another round of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. We continue to push government to ensure there is linkup between all these initiatives so that it makes sense to the applicant and we maximise uptake.

Finally, thank you to everyone who applied to the ICF Representative roles we advertised last month and volunteered for the #ReTreeFit initiative. It is wonderful to have such positive engagement and get talking with members we have not worked with before. Please stay in touch/get in touch and tell us about policy issues affecting your work. Chartered members keep an eye out for more rep opportunities coming next month in health and safety, plant health and certification.

In Other News

  • We contributed to this piece of research by Savills on the future of forestry, specifically on the critical skills shortage – read
  • The Plant Health Portal has released new official guidance which interprets the special requirements for some plants and plant products. There are also six e-learning modules on the website – access
  • Government launches consultation on Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) for farmers – respond
  • New Forestry Commission Chief Executive appointed – read
  • Report from the international networking conference “Forests in Women’s Hands” – read
  • Latest Forestry Commission grants and regulation update – read
  • UK Squirrel Accord collects evidence of bark stripping and damage – please contact them if you can help and email evidence to info@squirrelaccord.uk
  • Call for evidence launched on the sustainability of the built environment – read


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