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Policy Roundup – November 2020

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 we have been mostly looking ahead, taking time to be more strategic and proactive in our policy work after a year that has forced us to be mainly reactive.

Sector Skills Plan

We have been working hard with Defra on a sector skills plan and have developed proposals on what the Institute and other bodies can do – in the short term and the long term – to achieve the huge uptick needed in jobs and skills. We are due to meet Defra again to discuss our ideas further, working closely with Liz Barron-Majerik, CEO of Lantra and Chair of the Forestry Skills Forum, where the work will continue.

If you would like to hear directly from Defra on their future plans for skills development in forestry, plus an update on the England Tree Strategy, then please sign up for our free webinar, hosted by members of the Tree Planting programme team, on Thursday 17 December.

Book Webinar Here


With the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in November 2021 in Glasgow, we are developing ideas on what we can do for COP26, including working with other professional bodies. We are taking forward recommendations from our Strong Voice working group and are looking for their input on how to maximise the benefits and influence of ICF representation, informed by the reports we are receiving from reps ahead of December’s Council meeting.

EFRA Inquiry – Tree Planting and Woodlands

In terms of public policy we made a submission to the EFRA Inquiry into tree planting and woodlands, urging for government to address the critical skills shortage, as well as bridge the cultural divide between forestry and farming. Now that the Agriculture Bill has passed into law we need to see real development on land use policy interventions, and we are staying close to progress of the Environment Bill through the Environmental Policy Forum and its members.

Read our Full EFRA Inquiry Response

Updated Guidance on Plant Health Portal

Finally, with thanks to Associate Member Aoife Smith for spotting it, last month’s policy blog gave a link to plant health guidance on the EU Exit, but please see the most up-to-date guidance on the Plant Health Portal (plus a separate guide on Wood Packaging Material and webinars for traders). If you missed our Forestry Post-Brexit webinar series in October, you can watch them all in the Members’ Area Library as they provide information on the various changes that will come in at the end of the transition period.

News, Policy & Research Updates from Across the Sector

Guidance & Funding

  • Improvements made to the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Planning Grant – read
  • Video on the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Planning Grant – watch
  • Funding available in Wales Apprenticeship Scheme – read


  • Winners of Urban Tree Challenge Fund announced – read
  • Welsh Government announce 14 sites for new National Forest – read

To contribute to next month’s roundup, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact Jemima Cooper, Senior Policy and Research Officer –

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