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Policy Roundup – October 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

We’ve had a meeting with the forestry policy leads in Defra to discuss our concerns about the critical skills shortage in the sector. They have asked us for our expertise in identifying the issues and finding solutions. We’re working with Liz Barron-Majerik, chair of the Forestry Skills Forum, and Neville Elstone MICFor, ICF member representative, to develop what they need.

Otherwise, consultations continue to dominate the Institute’s policy work. We made a brief response to the Welsh consultation ‘Sustainable farming and our land’, our main message being that forestry must be properly incorporated alongside farming.

We convened an expert group to advise on our response to the government’s planning reforms in the consultation ‘Planning for the future’ – it is critical that trees are considered early in the planning process and that councils have qualified and experienced tree officers. We’ve been working with the Arboricultural Association, Forestry Commission, Landscape Institute, RTPI and the Woodland Trust to align our responses for maximum impact. We know how vital partnership working is and continue to work together wherever possible in all areas of our work.

We attended the Annual Forestry Conference hosted online by the CLA. It was hugely energetic about the pace of change needed and the partnerships and knowledge sharing that will facilitate it – from Forestry Commission and Defra but also our colleagues working in agriculture.

Finally, members may be aware of an EFRA Inquiry into tree planting and woodlands. It’s interesting timing given the forthcoming England Tree Strategy. We’re planning a submission based on our response to the ETS consultation, emphasising the critical skills gap and the value of cross-UK working. Members are encouraged to contact with suggestions or comments.

Policy & Research Updates from Across the Sector

Update: England Tree Strategy

The England Tree Strategy is now due to be published in the first quarter of 2021, with a summary of responses due later this year.

Plant Passports Factsheet

This fact sheet outlines what will be changing for Plant Passports (PP) and what UK businesses need to do to. Read it here.

Confor Publish Article on Green Recovery

Confor’s latest Forestry and Timber News featured an article on how the forestry and the wood processing sector can aid a Green Recovery. Please read the full article here.


  • Forest regeneration on European sheep pasture is an economically viable climate change mitigation strategy – read
  • Some UK cities have more trees than national parks, new research – read
  • Study reveals changes in tree canopy cover in Britain’s urban areas – read
  • Forest, trees and the eradication of poverty – 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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