News & Events

eNews November 2007

Judith Webb

After 13 years representing the private forestry sector, Judith Webb leaves ConFor with the best wishes of her colleagues. Her part-time posts in England and Wales will be replaced with full-time staff, with the new England post also picking up Judith's work in the Marches region.

Judith Webb has worked for ConFor and its predecessor organisations (FTA and TGA) for 13 years in various capacities in England and Wales.  As part of the development of ConFor, with full-time posts being created for England and for Wales, Judith has been relinquishing her ConFor roles, first in Wales and the Marches in the summer, and now as the part-time national manager for England. 

At the Royal Welsh Show, she was presented with a book as a gesture of thanks for her work.  In her various ConFor roles, Judith has participated in a wide-range of representational groups in England and Wales.  She is also very active in the sector in her own right. Judith is director/trustee of the Deer Initiative. She runs her own business, JW Associates, specialising in woodland management, land-use policy and conservation schemes. She sits on the Cotswolds AONB Conservation Board and is a member of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Forestry Committee. She was, until the end of September 2006, chair of Defra's Rural Development Service.

Judith has taken up a number of new posts recently, including being a non-executive director of the National Forest Company and a Forestry Commissioner for Wales.

The new ConFor posts have been advertised and interviews are being held.


Political work

ConFor is continuing to inform and influence politicians on behalf of the sector throughout the UK, including the all-party group at Westminster and similar initiatives for Scotland and Wales, while in Northern Ireland, discussion will be held with members on this.

ConFor's all-party forestry group of MPs and peers at Westminster engages the MPs who lead on forestry policy from the three main political parties, as well as, Lord Clark, chair of the Forestry Commission. In recent months, ConFor has been asked to inform emerging policy on forestry for the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. At the group's recent AGM, ConFor briefed participants on the sector's continuing role in climate change and rural development, as well as highlighting key topical issues such as Gangmasters Licensing. This personal briefing builds on the occasional briefing papers that are provided by ConFor on arising issues.

ConFor also briefed the all-party conservation and wildlife group (which includes Elliot Morley, MP) on the importance of supporting commercially managed forestry through supportive and facilitating public policy and developing the market for wood. ConFor has secured a meeting with the new forestry Minister in England, Joan Ruddock, MP. ConFor board member Nick Hoare and Doug Wentworth, MD of Taylormade will accompany Stuart Goodall.

In Wales, an initial meeting with the forestry Minister was postponed at the last minute as responsibility for forestry passed from Jane Davidson, Labour to Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru, as part of the two parties' power-sharing agreement. Graham Taylor, Pryor and Rickett, and David Edwards, Tilhill, will accompany Stuart Goodall.

In Scotland and Wales, cross-party groups of MSPs and AMs respectively are being established. While in Northern Ireland discussion will be held with members on the need for and benefit from political lobbying.


Price indices

Forestry Commission's standing sales price index and the softwood sawlog price index for Great Britain to September 2007 have been published. Plus, ConFor is working with the FC to improve private sector production forecasting.

The main findings from the price indices are that:

  • the coniferous standing sales price index was 34.9% higher in real terms in the year to September 2007, compared with the previous year;
  • the average price per cubic metre overbark standing was £10.66 in nominal terms (£8.08 in 1996 prices) in the year to September 2007; and
  • the softwood sawlog price index was 31.1% higher in real terms in the six months to September 2007, compared with the corresponding period of the previous year.

www.forestry.gov.uk/statistics

ConFor has partnered the Forestry Commission in hosting a meeting to discuss the focus of the next production forecasting exercise and to explore greater industry engagement in the process. FC recognises that recent and future changes in the supply-demand balance mean that accurate information on forecast timber availability is becoming increasingly important and is keen to secure effective engagement by the private sector. In a departure from past activity, ConFor has been asked to put forward a group of people from the private sector to work with the FC.


Habitats regulations

Changes to the Habitats Regulations on European Protected Species are in force across the UK.  There are important implications for woodland owners and managers.

Changes had to be made as the current legislation did not comply with the EU Habitats Directive.  The main difference lies in accidental damage to habitat and nests of EPS, which is now an offence (see September 07 FTN).

In England, there is an informal approach (between FC, Natural England, Defra and Crown Prosecution Service), that for the first six months, they will not expect to see any prosecutions (this period ends January 08).  Note, however, that individuals can bring a case, not just the statutory agencies.  FCE has tried to get as pragmatic an approach as possible, but cannot guarantee how it will pan out. 

FC England is holding regional seminars on amendments to the Habitats Regulations to advise woodland owners, managers and contractors on the legislative changes and how they can ensure that forestry operations are compliant with the Regulations where protected species are present.  The dates and venues for these events, together with details of how to book a place, are available via the FC's Habitats Regulations webpage at:

www.forestry.gov.uk/england-protectedspecies


Beaver

Campaigns to re-introduce European beaver into various parts of Britain have been gaining ground.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust, Mammals Trust UK and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland are making a joint application again for a pilot project in northwest Scotland.  A previous application by Scottish Natural Heritage was turned down in 2005.  Only a local consultation is taking place this time, but ConFor is submitting comment and Jamie Farquhar attended the local meetings. 

ConFor is liaising with other objectors. ConFor's position is that, while some members may welcome re-introduction, it is not known how beaver will behave here, in an environment that has changed significantly since beaver was last here in the 15th or 16th centuries.  There is a risk that it behaves as an invasive alien species, especially in the absence of top predators.

There are similar proposals in parts of England and Wales, including Kielder and the New Forest.

ConFor's submission will be posted at www.confor.org.uk/ around the end of November, but views and comments would be most welcome to Jamie.farquhar@confor.org.uk or jane.karthaus@confor.org.uk


In Brief

Forestry Statistics 2007 has been published, including material which was previously included in UK Timber Statistics, and with some changes in format:

  • links to greater detail on sources and methodology and
  • access to tables and the data used in charts in downloadable Excel format.

Comments welcome by 20 November to sheila.ward@forestry.gsi.gov.uk www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forstats2007.nsf/LUContents then click on the Contents link on the left to get a list of chapter headings.

For a report and presentations from the recent E-Business Forum conference and the new supply chain mapper, please see link on e-Business Forum website, or  www.forestryscotland.com/ebusiness_forum/news_detail.asp?id=48&parent_id=36&select_id=37&expand=37 .  This website was launched at the e-Business for Forestry Conference 2007, ‘Raising the Game' on 25 October.  This is of UK-wide interest. 

Stansted Airport is looking for suppliers of biomass woodchip. Go to www.airportsmart.com/ > View Contract Notices > Qualification System Notices. Users will have to complete the free registration to view the details.

Consultations

FC England reported that 2007 payments of FWS, FWPS and FWP were a little delayed and should have commenced on 06 November. Note that remittance advices will follow after payments. Important information regarding these payments is at:
www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-78khtj.
ConFor would welcome comment from owners and practitioners on these and other changes, such as the draft new contracts at www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-743ecf.
 
Defra (and the Welsh Assembly) has issued a consultation on the review of schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and a ban on the sale of certain non-native species, with a closing date of 31 January 08.

This is a proposal to remove and to add some species from schedule 9, which is a list of non-native species that cannot be "released, allowed to escape, plant or cause it to grow in the wild".  Grey squirrel is on the list and is not mentioned in these proposals, but other species relevant to forestry are, such as, Chinese water deer and rhododendron (to be added).  There is also a section on banning certain species from sale.

www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/wca-schedule9/consultation.pdf
Comments would be most welcome to: jane.karthaus@confor.org.uk

The Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae Industry Liaison Group, in which ConFor has been participating, was recently reconvened by Defra to consider a proposed public consultation on management policy of these two pests, more popularly known as sudden oak death.  The consultation is expected to be launched in January 08 and members are urged to participate, either directly, or through ConFor jane.karthaus@confor.org.uk .

What could a Global Forest Partnership look like? Rooting a Global Forest Partnership in stakeholder capabilities and needs.  The World Bank is consulting on this proposal, up to 30 November 07 through the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) www.iiedgfpconsultation.org/

Events

England

On 29 November the West Midlands Woodlands and Forestry Forum meets at the Innovation Centre, Brownhill.

The Tree Advice Trust is running a seminar, Through the trees to development, on 06 December at Wyboston Lakes Conference Centre, Beds.  If development is to take place and successfully retain selected, safe, healthy trees a number of disciplines and responsibilities must work together.
AAIS, Alice Holt Lodge, Tel: 01420 22022; Email: admin@treehelp.info

The business improvement event, on 15 February 08, in Ilminster, Somerset, has been organised by Train to Gain in partnership with Lantra to provide information on funding for training in the southwest and update on key issues, as well as giving advice about new ways of increasing business, attracting new customers and business planning and development.

Tel: 08456 047 047 or email traintogain@bldc.co.uk

Train to Gain is a unique free brokerage service, funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and delivered by the Business Link and the training provider network. Skills Brokers offer businesses impartial advice on their skills requirements; match the training needs of companies with training providers and help to create tailored development.

http://www.traintogain.gov.uk/

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/

Scotland

A chain of custody certification workshop is being organised through the Borders Woods Certification Project on 11 December 07 at Tweed Horizons, Newtown St Boswells.  This is a free event and will run from 10-4pm with refreshments and buffet lunch provided.  The workshop will be of interest to anyone in the industry who wants to find out more about chain of custody certification and how it could help their business and market access for their products. 
Contact Fiona Angier - Fiona.angier@confor.org.uk or telephone 0131 240 1419.

SRDP seminars to explain the new Rural Development Contracts are to be held around Scotland:
04 December in Nairn
06 December at New Lanark Mill (one in the morning and one in the afternoon)
07 December in Bridge of Allan
11 December in Kirkwall
Pat Durie, tel: 0131 244 6419 Email: pat.durie@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Scottish Forest Industries Cluster
27 November - Highland Regional Cluster meeting at Aviemore
04 December - South of Scotland Regional Cluster meeting, Dumfries-shire, venue - tbc.
Other regional meetings - please check website for further details http://www.forestryscotland.com/

Warning from Certis

Users of rabbit, rat and mole control agent Talunex should ensure operator safety remains a top priority by getting a Topex Applicator adaptor before using the new size Talunex flasks, available from December onwards.

Certis marketing manager Robert Lidstone explains that a flask design change means the existing Topex Applicator for use with Talunex can still be used, but now requires the addition of an adaptor. A special can-opening tool is also being provided with the adaptor, which is essential to pierce the foil seal on the Talunex flask before attaching to the Topex Applicator. Operators must not try to remove the foil by any other means.

Topex Applicator adaptors for use with the new size Talunex flask are available free from Certis. Call 01664 820052, email certis@certiseurope.co.uk or ask your distributor.

© Copyright 2007 Confederation of Forest Industries (UK) Ltd (ConFor). Registered in Scotland No. SC34467

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