Policy Roundup – September 2022

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

Institute news

It has been a time of change at every level – within the Institute, in the sector, in the political landscape and in the monarchy. We have a new Prime Minister, a new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Ranil Jayawardena (replacing George Eustice), and new Minister of State at Defra, Mark Spencer, but still waiting to find out who will have the forestry brief.

We are happy to be getting out and about more, building relationships with partners, supporting important initiatives and meeting members. Just to give you a flavour, we have been at the Arboricultural Association conference, the launch of the Professional Forester Level 6 Apprenticeship at Cannock Chase, the Defra Plant Health Conference and the APF Exhibition, which was a fantastic opportunity for many of the team to get together with colleagues from across the sector.

We submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on supporting the UK timber market and reducing global deforestation. Our evidence focussed on the importance of bringing existing woods into management and the need for strong political leadership on timber and wood products. Read our evidence and other consultation responses here.

This autumn we are planning to restart the work of the Forestry Agricultural Transition group and await further news about the future of ELM, given the change of direction in government which is already attracting concern from many environmental organisations.

In October we are looking forward to welcoming Shona Smyth MICFor as our new Senior Technical Officer. Shona will be supporting our policy work as a key touchpoint who is already well embedded in the sector, coming from her role with Pryor & Rickett Silviculture. She will also be taking on some of our events programme, notably a community engagement event and the Early Career Professionals Study Tour 2023. The latter will take place in Scotland – please get in touch if you would like to contribute to the steering group.

Sector news

  • Consultation on plant varieties and seeds strategy – respond
  • Blog on the Forestry Commission’s new Seed Sourcing Grant – read
  • 22/09 Forestry Commission grants and regulations update including trees and waders guidance and Seed Sourcing Grant – read
  • Outline on proposals for Wales’ sustainable farming scheme including a proposal on 10% minimum woodland cover on farms – read
  • Consultation on a new Agriculture Bill in Scotland – respond
  • Over one million hectares of woodland monitored for Phytophthora ramorum in Scotland – read
  • £32m for farmers and landowners to help Wales plant 86 million trees – read
  • £3 million funding for research into treescapes in the UK and their value to people and the planet – read
  • Call for leaders to action commitments on forest loss and biodiversity ahead of COP-27 – read

Latest news