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RFS warmly welcomes Government’s response to Independent Panel on Forestry
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Simon Lloyd, RFS Director of Development, issues a statement on the Government’s response to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s Final Report

Date Issued: 31 January 2013


The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) has warmly welcomed the Government’s response today to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s Final Report, saying they will provide the vital impetus required for a revival of woodland culture across England.

The Society says it looks forward to working closely with the Government and, in particular, Dr Peter Bonfield and others in the sector, to develop an action plan to move from good intentions to positive actions.

Simon Lloyd, RFS Director of Development, says: “The RFS welcomes measures that see the Government, private and voluntary sectors working more closely together, as well as the announcement of a new independent public body to hold in trust the nation’s publicly owned forests and a continued, more focussed role for Forestry Commission England.

“The expertise of foresters from the private sector will play a major role in promoting better and increasing woodland management across the country. A stronger woodland culture will be a major contribution to Defra’s ambition to be a ‘Growth Department’.

“The statements today accept all the Independent Panel’s recommendations and are a significant step towards a new model of working. In particular we welcome the initial emphasis on protection and enhancement of existing woodlands. The expansion of the percentage of land covered by trees will take longer to achieve, but is an aspiration we wholeheartedly share.

“The commitment to a Public Forest Estate was widely expected and the increased emphasis and funding for tree health as a top priority with additional funding is also welcome.

“We will now be looking for an increased focus and greater priority on activities for the greater benefit of all those involved in woodland management and particularly to support private forester

“The third sector, including the RFS, does and can play a major role in providing practical advice and guidance. Creating more and better mechanisms to guide woodland owners towards the resources that can help them understand how to get started or where to get specialist advice can be achieved very cost-effectively.

“The question of regulation of the industry and the amount of bureaucracy faced by private woodland owners remains high on the agenda as we look for a business environment which will enable forestry to flourish. We are anxious to see how some of the work of the Government’s own Regulatory Task Force can be taken forward.”

The RFS membership is predominantly made up of professionals and amateurs actively involved in woodland management, from woodland owners and managers, to nurserymen and growers, contractors and consultants.