News & Events

eNews April 2008


..once again to this latest issue of ConFor's eNews.  We are pleased to welcome the following new members who have joined since our last issue:

Equipment Supply Services Ltd, Neath
Durno Limited, Inverurie
Sheffield & Co Ltd, Carlisle
Flawio Forest Solutions, Romania
John Latter, Tetbury
Paul Smalley, Exeter
Andrew Dickson, Huntly

European Protected Species - ConFor meets the Commission

Jane Karthaus and our partners in CEPF have met with senior officials in the European Commission to discuss how the UK could best implement EU legislation on European Protected Species.

Jane raised concerns about the impact of the legislation on ‘normal' woodland management operations, much of which was news to them. The European Commission has established a group to advise/liaise on implementation with the Member States and ConFor will follow this up with them, as well as contributing to the review of the legislation.

Certification for the small woodland owner

ConFor has consistently raised concerns within the UKWAS process that certification was proving unattractive for owners of small woods and those who manage their woods with a light touch. Following recent work by UKWAS ConFor will lead an initiative to find practical ways forward.

UKWAS has recognised that currently certification is too time-consuming, too costly and too complex for owners of small woods - identified as under 100ha. The Standard has been amended to simplify requirements for these woods and those that are managed with a light touch, but at its last meeting ConFor made clear that more needed to be done, including looking at more fundamental changes to the process of auditing.

A report has been produced for UKWAS flagging up potential ideas. As many of these are external to the Standard it was agreed that ConFor and the Forestry Commission would champion further work on them.

At the same time ConFor is engaging with the implementation of the UK Government's ‘beefed-up' timber procurement policy to highlight the dangers to owners of woodland who are managing their woods in accordance with the Government's UK Forestry Standard, but whose wood could be excluded from Government contracts because of the policy. ConFor has made clear that certification should not be a requirement if it has the perverse effect of persuading owners not to manage their woodland and in the process undermine Government's forestry policy objectives.

Welsh Beaver Assessment Initiative

ConFor has been contributing to investigations into the feasibility of re-introducing beaver to Wales since 2005, and has provided input that has helped develop the Beaver Information Exchange for Wales website (

Now the Wildlife Trusts Wales (WTW) has started working on the Welsh Beaver Assessment Initiative, which will investigate this issue further during 2008.  This work will involve liaison with all the key stakeholders, research into potential sites for beaver reintroduction/ management issues, and potential economic and social benefits to the rural economy.

WTW will be setting up a Liaison Group to ensure that key stakeholders are kept informed of progress and have ample opportunity to feedback into the process.   It will be email-based so will not require attendance at meetings, unless requested by the group members. If you have any points/comments you would like ConFor to feed in on your behalf, please contact Kath McNulty.

New Industry Advisory Board in Scotland

Following the Scottish Government's review of Scottish Enterprise (SE) last autumn Industry Advisory Boards are being established for each of the priority industries identified by SE.  The Forest Industries remain one of SE's priorities and a Forest Industries Advisory Board (FIAB) will replace the previous Cluster Leadership Group which has recently been dissolved.

Following a call for nominations the ten posts on the Board have been filled as below:

Alex Brownlie
Tom Bruce-Jones
Steve Lavery
Colin Mann
Hamish Macleod
Richard Palmer
Ed Suttie
Bob Stubbs
Fergus Tickell
George Webb

In addition to industry representatives, the Advisory Board will include representation from Scottish Enterprise (SE), Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and ConFor, who will continue to partner SE in the work of the Advisory Board as well as provide a role in liaising with politicians and the Scottish Government.

The new Board will work with SE, HIE and the Scottish Government on the sustainable economic development and success of the forest industries in Scotland, building on the successful work of the Cluster since 2000.  Task-focussed Working Groups will be convened to support and deliver the priorities identified from the work of the Advisory Board. Stefan Kay OBE will step down as Interim Chair of the Board at its first meeting. Stefan wishes the members of the new Board well in their work.

Former forestry Minister seeks to imprison traders in illegal timber

Former England forestry Minister and current adviser to the Prime Minister on combating illegal logging, Barry Gardiner MP has brought forward a private members bill that, if adopted as legislation, would mean timber traders knowingly caught selling illegal timber in the UK could face up to five years in prison and a £100,000 fine.

The bill has the backing of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, but as very few private member bills are ever successful it is unlikely to make it to the statute books. The bill aims to make trading in timber illegally harvested, sold, taken or possessed from its country of origin an offence, as well as timber exported illegally through a secondary country.  The "sliding scale of stiff penalties", includes situations where "the importer has done all they honestly could, but has unknowingly traded illegal goods", where a £10,000 fine could be levied.

Bank of England Business Report

ConFor is consulted annually by the Bank of England in preparation of its business conditions report.

Each month the BoE publishes a summary of monthly reports compiled by the Bank's Agents, following discussions with businesses. It provides a regular update on the state of business conditions, from firms across all sectors of the economy.

In Brief

Wales Red Squirrel Project

Over the next few months, Menter Mon Environmental are working on behalf of the Countryside Council for Wales to develop the scope of a Wales Red Squirrel   project, prepare a costed plan and identify potential funding sources.

As a first step in the process a 'brainstorming workshop' will be held on 7th May to explore the objectives and potential activities of a Wales red squirrel project.

If you would like to attend, please contact Kath McNulty.

Better Woodlands for Wales

Greg Vickers, Grants and Licences Operations Manager, has resigned from FCW. Greg will leave at the end of May to continue his career in the South of England as a Forester for a private estate. A new G&L Ops Manager will be recruited as soon as possible. Meanwhile a member of the Grants and Licences team will be temporarily promoted. Richard Siddons is confident that business will not suffer.

New Director for Forestry Commission Wales

Trefor Owen has been confirmed as the new Director for FCW. Stuart Goodall and Kath McNulty will meet with him shortly to discuss his aspirations for FCW and to establish a good working relationship.

Spruce Bark Beetle (D. Micans)

Scotland is running a Plant Health awareness campaign for spruce bark beetle. They have re-printed the rather fetching "Spruce Up" lorry / car / machine sticker and have also printed a new office awareness poster. Further information from Russ Collins, Policy Advisor, Forestry Commission Scotland, Silvan House, Edinburgh, EH1 7AT, Tel 0131 314 6219, Mob 07917 558365

The House That Kevin Built

This Sunday, why not watch Kevin McCloud build a house - live on Channel 4.  Kevin will be using using ModCellTM - sustainable, prefabricated  timber, straw and hemp cladding systems that meet the needs of tomorrow, today.

"The House That Kevin Built" will be constructed on Channels 4's Grand Designs Live TV, using ModCell StrawTM and Modcell HempTM Panels, based on the BaleHaus Zero Carbon Home, launched this year at EcoBuild 2008.

Channel 4's Grand Designs Live TV will air daily from the 4th to the 9th of May, starting at 8:05pm this Sunday (4th May) and every night from Monday 5th at 9pm.  All programmes are repeated one hour later on Channel 4+1


Tree safety management conference
29 May, London
Please note, and apologies, there was an error in the web address in April FTN on p30.

FC/FR/ConFor/ICF seminars on red band needle blight and other tree diseases:

19 June, Village Hall, Santon Downham, Thetford.
Details/register Andy Coombes, tel: (01603) 759 618 by 12 June.

25 June, details/register Steve Penny

Forest of Dean
1 July, Dean Management Training Centre, Nr Coleford
Details/register Hugh Williams by 23 June.

Programmes and more details >> 

The Role of Forests in Climate Management: Research - Innovations - Investments - Capacity Building
4-7 October, St Petersburg

Royal Welsh Show
21-24 July, Builth Wells

CLA Game Fair
25-27 July, Blenheim Palace, Oxon

ConFor's International Forestry Exhibition
18-20 September, Cannock Chase

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

59 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2JG, UK. Tel: +44 (0)131 240 1410 Fax: +44 (0)131 240 1411 Contact us online