News & Events

eNews Current

This is Confor's regular September e-news to keep you informed before our members receive the next Forestry and Timber News in October.


A W Jenkinson Forest Products, Cumbria
Arthur Lott, Devon
Llandre Sawn Wood Ltd, Powys
Steve Lavery, Perthshire


It is renewal time and we hope that members will appreciate the work Confor is doing on their behalf. In addition to member services, Confor represents the sector in many ways. A brief update has been sent out to all members and is available here. The support of members is highly valued by Confor and we look forward to working for you again in the coming year.

Entry is free for members and remember to sign up for our free events, including a Q&A with the UK forestry minister and business networking meetings - plus free refreshments! Find more here. Space at some events is limited so please book your place with Liz - or 0131 240 1410.

Independence Referendum
The Referendum outcome will be known on the Friday of the APF. October's FTN will feature comments on this important political decision and what it means for the rest of the UK. In the meantime, read Confor's member briefing on independence and devolution here.    

Commercial forestry and flood alleviation
Confor is working with Forestry Commission England and Forest Research to understand better how productive woodland, including softwoods can contribute to flood alleviation. With future public funds for new planting in England being directed at combating flooding and biodiversity it is important that up-to-date evidence is in place to inform grant providers of the benefits of productive forestry.  

FSC listens to Confor on Online Claims Platform
Confor welcomes the recent decision from the international Forest Stewardship Council's Board of Directors to make their proposed Online Claims Platform voluntary. Confor's technical advisor Andrew Heald said "This is welcome news from FSC. We all agree that there are real concerns in high risk parts of the world, but to implement OCP universally was simply the wrong solution to the wrong problem". Read more.
Confor's Andrew Heald is currently attending the FSC General Assembly in Seville and will discuss some of the key issues in an article in FTN October.

Sawmill energy agreement could save millions - in both cash and carbon 
The Environment Agency has begun issuing the first energy reduction agreements for sawmills. These agreements will provide mills with the opportunity to make significant savings on their energy bills in return for investments in energy reduction. "This agreement is the product of many months hard work by Confor and I applaud the mills that are participating, "said Stuart Goodall of Confor. Read more.

Squirrel accord
Confor has signed up to a broad sector Accord to control grey squirrels and protect reds. Further news can be expected in FTN December.

Grown in Britain week is on its way!
Grown in Britain week, starting 13 October, is fast approaching with a range of interesting events across the country. See more at If you would like to link an event to Grown in Britain week, please send details to This is an opportunity to engage people with wood as a versatile and beautiful material and to help get woods working again.   

This plant health update features Ash Dieback, Acute Oak Decline, Larch Stump Treatment and an upcoming initiative called Observatree. Read update.


Smallholders urged to plan for important CAP changes
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is contacting smallholders (claimants with less than 5 hectares) throughout England this week to help give them plenty of time to decide what to do next about important EU rule changes. Read more.


Regulation of hill-tracks is set to damage Scottish forestry
Forest roads, which are regulated by Forestry Commission Scotland, are set to be subject to double regulation under plans announced by the Scottish Government. "This is extraordinary and unwelcome news", said Jamie Farquhar, Confor's national manager for Scotland. Read more.

New biomass plant in Speyside
A new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant near Craigellachie, Moray, will generate 87.4 GWh per annum of electricity and 76.8 GWh per annum of heat. The Macallan distillery will use the heat generated by the plant in the form of steam, a critical component of the distillation process. The plant will be fuelled with ‘forestry by-product' from the local area supplied by a consortium of local growers and forest industry suppliers including Stobart Biomass Products Ltd. and UPM Tilhill.


Following the publication of the 50 year timber supply forecast, which highlighted the shortfalls in future timber supplies, the Welsh Government want to know what actions or recommendations the sector thinks could help alleviate supply problems in the future and secure long term investments in the industry. Confor and the Wales Forest Business Partnership have been asked to organise an event to bring together the whole forest industry and give a united response. More about the event here.  


As part of its commitment to member services, Confor's Andrew Heald has spent time in Belfast with representatives of the Northern Ireland forest industry to discuss their concerns and begin to develop a strategy to support the sector. Northern Ireland has the possibility of a new forestry grants package in 2015, so the time is right to begin dialogue across the industry, and with the Government agencies tasked with delivering and regulating these new initiatives.


WWF recognises need for plantations
Through its New Generations Plantations Project, WWF encourages sustainably managed plantations across the world to meet global demand for fibre and timber and to release pressure on natural forests. Rodney Taylor, Director of Forests of WW International, explains WWF position in this video.

Communicating the bigger picture - how harvesting and wildlife can co-exist
For the second year in a row, the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) went out into the field to film a video showing how forestry activities coexist with wildlife. The short documentary that was produced sketches a realistic picture of the Quebec forest from the point of view of those who make their living from it, contrasting sharply with alarmist talk suggesting that harvesting the forest jeopardizes its future and the species that live there. Watch this inspiring video here.  

Farmers to discover how trees can grow their business
The RFS are to hold an event to demonstrate to farmers how trees can grow their business by improving the health and wellbeing of their livestock. Click here for how to book.


Introducing the WPA Field Trial to assess the durability of British Softwoods
Confor is providing sponsorship to the Wood Protection Association to commission Britain's largest ever durability trial of home grown timber. Read more  

Contribute to research - information request to woodland owners and managers
Dr. Scott McG Wilson would be grateful for input from the private sector for two studies he is currently conducting:

  • FC Scotland resilience study: if you are interesting in providing valuable input for the project, find more information here (project information request
  • Re-evaluating rotational or ‘insurance' upland Sitka spruce mixtures: Assistance is needed to identify and record any upland locations where mixed crops of Sitka spruce with relevant alternative conifers are currently growing (project information request)

Saving the Scots pine
Researchers across the UK are combining forces to safeguard the Scots pine from the raft of new pests and diseases that threaten its future. All could drastically affect the forestry and timber industry which is worth over £1.7 billion a year in Scotland alone. This is the first "Protree" project involving seven institutes and universities with the ling-term goal to protect all of the important UK tree species. For more, search for "Protree" here.  


APF 2014
18-20 September 2014, Ragley
Watch out for the APF preview in the FTN August issue.
Scottish attendees: this date coincides with the Scottish Independence Referendum on 18 September - have you organised your postal or proxy vote?
You can find everything on the APF here.  

South Scotland Forestry and Timber Regional Event
Forestry, Water and the Environment
01 October, SRUC Barony Campus, Dumfries - read more.

North-east Scotland Forestry and Timber Regional Event
09 October, Huntly - more details shortly here.

Mid Scotland Forestry and Timber Regional Event
14 October, Stirling - more details shortly here.

Confor Woodland Show 2015
10-11 September 2015, Longleat Estate


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