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Policy Roundup – September 2021

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

Institute News

Consultation Responses

It has been a busy month for policy at the Institute. We published responses to the UKFS review key stakeholder consultation, Scottish Government’s consultation on Delivering Economic Transformation and DAERA’s on the Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy – read these and others here. It is one of our real strengths as a professional body to be able to bring our UK-wide perspective to these developing policies.

Position Paper on Sector Skills

We are now working on a skills position paper to raise our concerns about the skills shortage, pledge actions we will take to improve it, and call on governments, private, public and third sector bodies to pledge the same. Similarly, you may be interested in our recent #MembersHour, where hosts Martin Glynn FICFor CEnv and Will Richardson MICFor presented the findings from Lantra’s recent survey on skills in the forestry workforce in England and Wales. A recording of this session can be found in the Members’ Area library.

Report on ICF Representation

Council met on Wednesday 22 September and among their full agenda was a report on ICF Representation. Through our expert volunteer members, we ensure that the voice of the profession is heard, gather information about forestry policy and wider issues, influence developing policy, and build relationships with governments, public bodies, allied professions and other stakeholders. The report outlines what we have done to review and improve representation and gives an update from each of the groups. Members can read the full report in the Members’ Area. We are extremely grateful for the support and expertise of our reps, past and present, and could not do the work without them.

Help Shape Your CPD in the 2021 CPD Survey

We also launched the CPD survey. It is an incredibly busy time for the sector, but that makes it all the more important to keep your skills up to date. The survey can take as little as five minutes and is open until 6 October – members please respond here and tell us what you need us to deliver in 2022-23.

Respond to survey


Help Inform New Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain

Finally, a consultation was launched on 21 September to inform a new plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain. With increasing pressure on trees and woodlands to mitigate the climate and nature crises, we must have a clear strategy for dealing with the unprecedented level of threats from pests and diseases. We strongly encourage members to respond to the consultation before 30 November 2021. Find out more here.

Sector News

Updates from Across the UK

  • Amendments made to the Environment Bill to tackle biodiversity loss – read
  • Rallying cry from Wales for more tree planting – read
  • Scottish farmers branching out into trees – read
  • Funding for biomass production includes £150,000 for harvesting of willow crops in Carlisle – read

Forestry Commission England Recent Updates

  • 28 September: grants and regulations news – read
  • 23 September: grants and regulations news – read
  • Sir William Worsley’s reflections since the FC centenary – read
  • A useful outline of the current forestry education funding opportunities – read
  • Cabinet reshuffle will affect planning reforms in England – read

 Plant Health

Tree Health Pilot Announced

Announced on 31 August, the Government’s Tree Health pilot will support action against pests and diseases in ash, sweet chestnut, larch and spruce trees in England. The findings from the three-year pilot scheme, delivered by the Forestry Commission, will help develop the future Tree Health scheme that is due to launch in 2024. Due to the current Ips typographus high risk area in South East England, the Forestry Commission are strongly encouraging members in the area to submit an expression of interest form for the Tree Health pilot scheme as they will be prioritised to prevent the spread.

We recently informed members of this new scheme and the funding available. You can access a web version of this mailer here.

New Head of Tree Health in Scotland

Scottish Forestry has appointed Institute member, James Nott MICFor, as the new Head of Tree Health in Scotland. James will head up a team of ten tree health experts who will lead on the development of tree health policy in Scotland. We wish James all the best in his new role.

Find out more about this appointment here.


  • Surge in imported timber – read
  • 25 year Norway spruce provenance trial (Forestry England) – read
  • The state of no net loss/net gain policies in English planning authorities – read
  • FAO says the management of the world’s forests must be water-centred – read

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