News & Events

eNews Current

This is Confor's January 2016 e-News, to keep you informed before our members receive Forestry and Timber News in February.

Welcome to new members:

Benjamin Crisford, East Sussex
BSW Timber Ltd, Berwickshire
Neil Dooley, Cumbria
Alex Gilham, Nottingham
Tommy Lee, Essex
Dominic North, Cumbria
Joe Oliver, Cumbria
Jason Smith, Manchester


Confor welcomes new flood group

Confor has welcomed the announcement of a new group to examine what more can be done to prevent further devastating floods in the North-west of England. Chief executive Stuart Goodall said the long-term strategic approach proposed by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss was the right way forward - and that tree-planting could play an important part in the discussions of the new Cumbrian Floods Partnership group. Read more  

£1m forestry fund opens for business - get your applications in or lose it

Confor has welcomed the launch of a £1 million fund by the UK Government to support forestry planting in England. The fund was confirmed in a letter from Chancellor George Osborne to Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall last month - and publicly announced by Forestry Minister Rory Stewart at Confor's Westminster conference three weeks ago. Read more  

The money is there to fund the survey work and preparation work that is goes into producing a good productive woodland scheme. There is up to £30k available per scheme. If you are considering a scheme or even thinking about it in the next couple of years please make an application. We need projects in the pipeline to prove that there is interest from investors in new productive woodland. It is vital for the industry that we take advantage of this opportunity before the deadline on the 15th February.

Details of the fund and how to apply can be found here

Scots forestry a hidden economic success story

Confor helped secure significant media coverage of a new report (Monday 30th Nov) which revealed that Scotland's forestry sector is a hidden success story and is contributing nearly £1 billion to the economy through forest management, timber processing and recreation - a substantial increase from the previous figure of £670 million.  Read more  

MP calls for 200 million new trees by 2020 to stop floods

A call by a Conservative MP to plant 200 million trees in England by 2020 to help prevent future floods has been welcomed by Confor. Anne-­Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick­-upon­-Tweed, suggested the existing 11 million target by 2020 should be increased almost 20­-fold to 200 million trees. The vice-­chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry made her call against the backdrop of the devastating floods in North­-west England and said hugely increased planting could help reduce flood risk in the long term. Read more  

Confor: Forestry can play major role in world summits

Confor called for forestry to play a more significant part in global environmental summits - as the world came together to agree a binding climate change agreement in Paris. Read more  

Conifer content being lost? 

Against a backdrop of concern over future wood supply, Confor has picked up on complaints of lost conifer content in restocking and new planting schemes. Andrew Heald has been asked to participate on the reference group of the upcoming UKFS review, and is gathering evidence of problems within the sector regarding UKFS, particularly on this issue. 

The maximum percentages for productive conifers on either new planting schemes or restocking and forest design plans has been highlighted, but from discussion with members the individual interpretation of UKFS by woodland officers may be a bigger challenge. The first meeting of the reference group is on Tuesday, 26th January. Please provide evidence to Andrew by Friday, 22nd January. 

Record year for UK forestry

Tilhill Forestry and John Clegg & Co launched the 2015 UK Forest Market Report in mid-November 2015, which gives both the buyer's and seller's perspective on the UK forestry property market, showing that a record £151.15 million of productive forests were traded as the sector becomes a growing mainstream investment. Read more


New Charter for trees, woods and people

Confor is one of more than 40 other organisations working with the Woodland Trust calling for a Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

The Charter will state that people and trees are stronger together, but that our nation's woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, disease and climate change and are at risk of being neglected, undervalued and forgotten.

Co-ordinators want people to share their tree stories and memories:  

Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund

Applications for the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund can be made by organisations or landowner groups during the application window of 18 January - 18 March 2016. The Facilitation Fund supports people and organisations that bring farmers, foresters, and other land managers together to improve the local natural environment at a landscape scale. The funding essentially supports the coordinators of the group and costs of meetings and specialist advice, giving them time and resources to support landowners to work together. Only a few groups can be supported in each county so the grant application is a competitive process. Read more 

Defra Guidance Consultation

The ‘Defra Guidance and Data Reforms: Cost, Benefits and Early Feedback' consultation was launched on 17 December 2015 and will run until the 10 February 2016. Members are encouraged to take part and share their views on Defra's guidance and information requests. The purpose of this consultation is to gather information on the assumptions, key sensitivities and risks that underpin the estimates of costs and benefits to business contained in the Consultation Impact Assessment. The online survey and supporting information may be found here.  

RFS to award over £10,000 a year to aid forestry study

A new £2000 Viking Bursary and up to four funded Studentships of £1850 each are being launched by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) under its flagship Future Foresters programme for 2016. In addition, the Randle Travel Bursary is once again offered to RFS members of any age involved in independent study outside the United Kingdom. Up to four £300 Randle bursaries are being offered. Read more


Scottish Finest Wood Awards - open to schools till March

Schools across Scotland are still being urged to submit their project to the Scottish Finest Wood awards till 31 March 2016. Now open for applications, the Awards are an annual celebration that recognises and rewards the people and communities that use, promote, own or manage Scotland's woods and forests to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits. Read more  

Consultation procedures being updated by FCS

Following a series of workshops in each of the conservancies, FCS have now published their recommendations on how our consultation procedures can be smartened up and improved.  Comments are requested by 31st January.  See here.  

Forestry Grant Scheme website ‘down' until 15th January

RPID have advised that "Unfortunately, due to a technical issue, Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) applications will be unavailable between 1 and 15 January 2016. This means that you'll be unable to draft or submit FGS applications during this time.

This technical issue also affects any AECS draft applications. Although you can't actually submit an application for AECS until the scheme officially opens, you also won't be able to prepare a draft application during this time. More information on AECS will follow in early January."  

Forestry budget retained at £36m for 2016/17

John Swinney's draft budget for the coming year proposes retaining £36m for private sector woodland grants, though FCS face some cut-backs to their programme for support to the industry.  Jamie Farquhar is meeting Head of FCS Jo O'Hara on 14th January to find out more detail.


Glastir Woodlands

Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales are working in partnership to deliver Glastir Woodlands. The teams are now in place and will liaise with stakeholders to deliver the Welsh Government Woodland Programme. 

The NRW Glastir Woodlands Team is responsible for providing the specialist and technical forestry advice to deliver the Welsh Government Glastir Woodland programme, and ensuring NRW regulatory responsibilities are discharged appropriately within Glastir Woodlands schemes. 

Glastir Woodland Creation Update

90 Expressions of Interest have been received and 84 customers have been selected to submit a GWC Plan. 51 Plans for 161ha of planting have been received of which 47 have been referred to NRW for verification.

29 plans have been approved and returned to WG by NRW and first contracts are now being offered via RPW Online. 

Glastir Woodland Restoration Update

42 Expressions of Interest were received under the first GWR window.  37 customers were selected to submit a Forest Management Plan. 27 Forest Management Plans were received for a total of 257.5ha of restocking.

25 Expressions of Interest have been received under the second window of GWR.  22 customers have been selected and invited to submit a Forest Management Plan by 8 January 2016 for an estimated 139ha of restocking. 

Glastir Woodland Creation Opportunities map update

The browser has an updated web link.


Tilhill Forestry launches 2016 graduate programme

Tilhill Forestry is on the hunt for candidates with drive, passion and enthusiasm who are interested in joining one of the forest industry's leading graduate programmes. Recent graduates will be ideally placed to join the three-year programme. Successful applicants are assigned to a district office or business stream where they learn every aspect of that area, including shadowing highly experienced colleagues. They may then move around the country and across business streams, enabling them to build up their knowledge. The application process closes on 26th February 2016. Read more  

FSC welcomes Anand Punja as the new European Regional Director

Anand Punja has been appointed as FSC Regional Director for Europe from 1st January 2016. Over the past five and a half years Anand has led on sustainability issues at the Timber Trade Federation in the UK, working with members and key stakeholders to provide an overarching strategic framework for the TTF's work in this area.  Read more  

Queen's New Year Honours

Wilma Harper Director, Corporate and Forestry Support Division, Forestry Commission was awarded an MBE for public and voluntary services to the Forestry Sector.


Upgrade to Tree Alert pest reporting tool

Tree Alert, the Forestry Commission's on-line tool for reporting suspected tree pests and diseases of concern, has had an upgrade. Read more 

New emergency measures for Xylella fastidiosa

The EU Plant Health Standing Committee has agreed updated emergency measures against this pathogen, to reflect the evolving situation in Italy and France, and to improve preparedness within the EU more generally.

A new Decision will take effect around the end of 2015 (as soon as it is published in the EU Official Journal) and will update the current Emergency Decision (2015/789/EU).

The current Decision (2015/789) sets out measures to detect X. fastidiosa and to take certain actions in response to findings.    A Defra factsheet is available here, and the Forestry Commission and European Commission websites are helpful sources of further information.  

Donations to help towards the control of Dendroctonus micans (the Great Spruce Bark Beetle)

Thank you to members who have pledged support for the breeding programme of Rhizophagus grandis to control the Great Spruce Bark Beetle.  We have reached our first year target of £5,000 but there is still some way to go to our five-year target of £25,000 that will ensure that we can release enough R. grandis into infected areas to be self-sustaining and bring D. micans to manageable levels.


Scotland Regional Forestry and Timber Industry evening meetings:

  • South Scotland - 2 March, Lockerbie
  • North-east Scotland - 9 March, Deeside
  • Mid Scotland - 16 March, Stirling

Agendas for the meetings will be decided by the relevant steering groups in the second week of January. Read more

North of England regional meeting - 17 March 2016 at Barningham Estate. 

In conjunction with FC Technical Development Branch.  Demonstration of small and medium scale harvesting equipment.  More details to follow here

Forestry and Timber: Scotland's hidden success story - 22 March 2016

Confor has teamed up with The Scotsman Conferences to organise a major event in Edinburgh on Tuesday, March 22nd to raise the profile of the forestry sector - and the key issues it faces - ahead of the May 2016 Holyrood elections. As a member, you are eligible to buy tickets for just £49 - a discount of more than 50%. Read more.  

APF 2016
15 September 2016, Ragley Estate
Read more

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