Policy Roundup – October 2023

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

Institute news

On 28 September, the Institute’s Executive Director Louise Simpson attended the Trees and Trains: Growing Green Corridors conference hosted by Network Rail and the Forestry Commission. Louise joined delegates from across government and from local authorities, the water, transport and environmental sectors and more. Speakers included Dr Neil Strong MICFor, Network Rail‘s Biodiversity Strategy Manager and member of our Environmental Special Interest Group, Richard Stanford CB MBE, Forestry Commission‘s Chief Executive, and Trudy Harrison MP, the UK Government’s Environment Secretary. Find out more about the conference from Dr Neil Strong MICFor in this blog post.  

This month was also our staff away day. Our team were together in Herefordshire 10-11 October to visit The Duchy Of Cornwall‘s estate at Shenmore. Invited by our President and the Duchy’s Head Forester, Geraint Richards MVO FICFor, we had a tour of the woodlands led by Geraint and Deputy Head Forester, Ben Anderson MICFor, discussing the estate’s varied tree species, forestry operations and more. With Institute staff based in England, Scotland, Wales and Belgium, it was great to see everyone in person. 

Our Senior Technical Officer, Shona Smyth MICFor, attended the Skills and CPD conference ‘Working in Wales – supporting our Agri-workers’ at Lantra Wales, RWAS Showground on Thursday 19 October. The morning featured Dr Nerys Llewellyn-Jones, Chair of Agriculture Advisory Panel for Wales launching their ‘Call for Evidence’ for a new Agricultural Skills Strategy, due to launch in two weeks’ time. Shona participated in afternoon workshops focusing on the skills gaps within the land-based sector and the role of CPD. 

 Also, Thursday 19 saw our Member Services Team – Craig Docking, Member Services Officer, Dawn Elliot, Member Services Officer and Dr Stuart Glen, Member Services Director, join almost 600 other delegates at the Memberwise Membership Excellence Conference. Labelled ‘The Membership Accelerator Edition’, many of the conference presentations and panel discussions centred on sustainably growing membership in challenging times – a highly relevant topic as the Institute’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026 details some highly ambitious targets for membership growth. 

Following the publication of our partnership position paper with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), “Management of Existing UK Woodlands: An Opportunity for Green Prosperity”, Louise Simpson, Jo Fox-Evans and Shona Smyth MICFor are organising a meeting with Minister Harrison to discuss and ask for firm commitment from governments, and an urgent move to action on funding, landowner empowerment, education and skills and the role of the professional.  

Finally, this month was the launch of our Trees, People and the Built Environment 5 (TPBE5) conference. Chaired by Kevin McCloud MBE FICFor (Hon) and Gary Newman, TPBE5 is a partnership between leading professional institutes and groups from across multiple disciplines. The conference is brought to you by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), Chartered Institute of Highways & Transportation (CIHT), Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA), Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Landscape Institute (LI), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG). Read more and book a ticket here. 


This month has been busy for consultations and the Institute really encourages members to engage and share their thoughts on any of the current consultations with Shona Smyth MICFor, Senior Technical Officer.

Current key consultations include the Scottish Government’s Tackling the Nature Emergency and the Welsh Government’s Net Zero Sector Skills. We are holding drop-in sessions for both consultations and thank members in advance for their contributions; this is an opportunity for you to form part of the Institutes response and shape future policy. You can view all current and previous responses to Consultations & Position Papers here. Please send your comments to Shona Smyth MICFor and we also encourage you to respond individually online. 

Following our response to the Changes to the Forestry (felling of trees) Regulations 1979 in September, Welsh Government has since reported a review of the proposals for claiming compensation. The draft is due to be released shortly. All updates on the new guidance for forestry powers under the new Agricultural Wales Bill 2022, can be found here 

Finally, the results of the Scottish Forestry consultation – Future Grant Support for Forestry were announced by Mairi Gougeon MSP on 5 October. The full analysis can be found here. The Institute was name checked within the analysis and we thank all of our members who inputted to our reponse 

“226. A small number wanted to see an increase in college-based training, with an individual noting there are only two places in Scotland where forestry can be studied. Similar numbers saw a need for more school education about forestry. A conservation / environment body and a forestry practitioner / agent wanted to see more recognised qualifications and accreditations, such as the Institute of Chartered Foresters Earned Recognition scheme.” 


On the 18 and 19 October Dr Kristin Waeber MICFor, our representative on the UKSA England Red Squirrel Action Plan, attended the second of two workshops on structured decision making. These workshops focused on Red Squirrel Recovery in England, alongside representatives of a number of NGOs, universities and other organisation from England and Scotland. Hosted by the Red Squirrel Conservation Strategy Team, the workshops are part of the England Red Squirrel Action Plan (ERSAP). The results of the workshops will be published next year. 

An update from Tom Jenkins FICFor in the Defra Tree Health Policy Group announced the latest official statistics Plant Health: International trade and controlled consignments, 2018 to 2022’. The statistical release brings together information on the international trade in plants and plant products and on the controlled plants and plant products that are notified to plant health inspectorates (Forestry Commission and Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate).

Sector news, guidance and reports

Campaigners urge for more tree legal protection after Sycamore Gap felling
The Guardian

New report on the impact of tree shading and building cooling
Buildings & Cities

The Wildlife Trusts report on health from nature
The Wildlife Trusts

UK political party stances on housing and what it means for the timber industry
Timber Development UK

Call for productive forestry and forest carbon cycling experts on Defra group
Institute of Chartered Foresters

Global Plastics Treaty summary

Experimental statistics published on plant health trade

Somatic embryogenesis for forestry
Forestry Journal

2013 PEFC Chain of Custody standard valid until 14 November 2023

RFS shares three changes for the sector to welcome more young people and career changers
Royal Forestry Society

Confor reflects on recent political party conference

Guidance on the Forestry and Arboriculture Training Fund
Forestry Commission

Forestry Commission publishes 2023-28 strategy
Forestry Commission

Irish forestry industry concerned over the importation of timber that is not bark-free

Panel of 18 experts contribute to new report on trees for human health

Report on re-greening streets and squares
Create Streets

Future of forestry grant support in Scotland
Scottish Forestry

Report published on the importance of nature markets

Implications of isoprene emissions, particularly in oak trees

FSC and PEFC certification awarded for all James Jones & Sons timber products
James Jones & Sons

UK Forestry Standard 5 released
Forestry Commission

Blog on the launch of the UKFS5
Forestry Commission

The decline of tree species resulting in biodiversity loss
The Scotsman

Sir Harry Studholme FICFor (Hon) joins Treeconomics as Chairman
The Institute of Chartered Foresters

Grey squirrel fertility control research receives National Lottery funding
Future Trees Trust

Policy briefing published on the investment in woodfibre insultation manufacturing in Wales
Woodknowledge Wales

EU-funded project to improve traceability and transparency in mass timber supply chains
Woodknowledge Wales

Additional income for farmers via the Woodland Carbon Code
Scottish Forestry

Forestry Facts & Figures for 2023 published
Forest Research

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