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What is the future of forestry regulation in England?

On Wednesday 20 April the Institute facilitated a cross-sector discussion with a range of leading organisations on proposals set out in the Nature Recovery Green Paper that potentially spell major changes to forestry regulation in England. The group discussed challenges with the process for Environmental Impact Assessments, permanency of woodland, and proposals in the paper to bring all environmental regulation under a single body.

This discussion will feed into the Institute response. Below are some highlights from the Green Paper and an indication of our developing response:

  • Proposal to establish priority areas for afforestation
    • We agree there should be a ‘presumption in favour’ to plant if developed with good data and appropriate protection
  • Proposal to extend the legal duties of the Forestry Commission to include actively supporting biodiversity
    • Our view is that FC are already doing this and agree with extending the duties as long as timber production remains one of them
  • Proposal to adjust forestry permanency requirements for certain project types
    • We know this would encourage some landowners to opt for woodland creation and try innovative approaches but it needs to be considered in light of other proposals
  • Where are there overlaps, duplication or boundary issues between ALBs, or between ALBs and government? How could these be addressed?
    • We believe better communication is needed between agencies and suggest more of a ‘one team’ approach
  • What are the benefits and risks of bringing all environmental regulation into a single body?
    • We foresee significant risks to merging agencies such as loss of momentum, capacity and expertise.


Please send your thoughts on the above to our Policy Manager, Jemima Cooper, to shape the Institute response by 6 May.

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